05 March 2009

Confident Speaking

My confident speaking course yesterday was actually better than I was expecting, and may even have verged on useful.

We had a nice discussion in the morning on what makes public speaking difficult, and then we did a small practice presentation just to two other people to ease us into it. The afternoon was run by George Palmer from EastEnders (or Paul Moriarty as he likes to be called), and he focused mainly on how we use our voices, how we project, and ways of engaging with your audience. I probably enjoyed this bit the most, although it involved some weird voice exercises like bellowing "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day" at a complete stranger over and over again. I think it was quite useful though, and we learnt how to breathe in order to add more power to our voices and things like that.

And then we were supposed to end on a three-minute presentation by each of us to the rest of the group about a subject of our choosing. But in a rather anti-climactic way we ran out of time so only half the delegates got to do their presentations, and it rather undermined the point of the whole thing. I didn't do mine, but I wasn't that bothered because I didn't want to do it anyway.

So yes, it was fine, better that lots of other courses I've been on. I suppose one of the key things we learnt was that although we don't like public speaking, we're probably not as bad at it as we think we are, and people don't tend to notice even if you are a bit nervous.

I wouldn't say that I'm now going to be massively confident in speaking in public, but if you need the first line of a sonnet bellowed in someone's face, I'm your man.

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