In the idyllic realm of our college, all of our students are intelligent, multitalented and have excellent communication skills. Therefore, we have a class on public speaking, tailored specifically for our budding computer geeks. This semester, Djokerz is the appointed teacher, which means he has 14 weeks to turn them from zero to hero. As prescribed, the students had to demonstrate what they have learnt in a public speech at the end of the semester.
In spite of the tonnes of work waiting to be done, I decided to drop by to see some of my students’ speech to show my support. I couldn’t stay for long, so I relied on the judges’ opinions on how they went. As expected, some students did a remarkable job and some students did less than expected, while the rest chose to shy from applauses altogether. No denying, public speaking is a daunting event for many, including myself.
Once on the stage, my heart would beat so hard that I thought the microphone would easily pick it, and the thumping sound will soon be amplified through the loud speakers. The colour of my palms start to change to pale white and soon after, my body temperature is reduced by a degree. Count another three seconds, my brain start to fall into a lapse, and the only thing that I would like to do next is to wave a white flag, run away, back to my bed and think that it was just another nightmare.
Of course, I have too much pride to let that happened. From time to time, I have to talk in front of an audience that I have never known before, and very unfortunately, unlike my friends, Djokerz, Beefy, NH, and Playboy Bunny, I am mere mortal!
So if you think you are mere mortal too, maybe you could find some of these tips useful:
1. Tell yourself that the audience is there not to see you in peril.
They are there to hear what you are about to say, and not to laugh at your blunders. Basically, they would like you to succeed, enemies are exceptions.
2. Some immortals believe that they do not have to script what they have to say, but scripting it does not mean you are automatically dumber. At the very least, I will script my opening and concluding lines.
3. Yes, practising in front of the mirror is awkward, then don’t do it. I never do it, I prefer to choose a quiet place to recite and practise the night before. Once you’re fluent with your first paragraph, the rest is easy.
4. Throwing jokes is good, but not a must. Beware of your jokes too, nothing involving racism, insults, and sexually explicit words.
5. Now, this one is a serious problem that I’m still trying to overcome, mannerism, once I’m nervous, I use more hand gestures than what I need and end my sentences with “alright” or “okay”. It’s bad bad bad ! I have to practise my presentation over and over again to get rid of mannerism.
6. What should we do if we have to speak impromptu? Well, as I’ve previously mentioned, I’m still learning, but the key is, do not let yourself to slip into horrifying nervousness. Make eye contact with the members of the audience. Choose someone who looks friendly and warm, so you’d feel more comfortable. I don’t believe in ridiculing my own nervousness in front of the audience as I think that would make the audience think , “Hey! She’s nervous, she must have not prepared well !”. I’ll just take a deep breath, smile, and assumed that I am safe and warm in a cocoon. People can see me, but they cannot throw tomatoes at me.
Hope these tips help, come to think of it, the readers of my blog are mostly better than me when it comes
to public speaking. Why did I even waste an hour typing this?