Monday, March 19, 2007

Public speaking 101

I read somewhere that public speaking is one of the most common fears. This is certainly the case for me. My stuttering has made public speaking a phobia of mine. So it is ironic that I now have to give a three day presentation every couple of months as part of my job.
A few weeks ago my boss said he would like me to be a "Boy's Town Trainer" for Trillium. Brief History : "Boy's Town" is a behavior model based on the program in Omaha that started in the early 1900's by Father Flanagan. He was one of the first people to recognize wayward youth as a societal problem. He believed strongly in that providing guidance, youth could turn their lives around.
Anyway, Boy's Town is a pretty big deal in my field and I thought I would be going into our foster family homes and educating them on the literature of Boy's Town. Turns out, I'm going to be presenting a three day work shop for the entire agency along with various therapists and psychologist every so often.
I spend all of last week in training learning the material. I hate sitting all week listening to a lecture. Last Thursday and Friday I got a crash course in public speaking and using Power Point presentations. It should be noted that I weaseled my way out of public speaking in college by taking a short little "interpersonal communications" class at the community college, so I have no experience. I also used to fake being ill in high school to get out of giving speeches. Now suddenly I'm giving Power Point presentation to people with much more education than me. Anyway, I got some tips such as "reading less from my notes" "answer questions more clearly" "stop looking at the ceiling", etc. Kind of wished I hadn't weaseled out of "public speaking 101".


GoldenSunrise said...

I'm sure you'll do fine. Just crack a joke to break the ice. Good luck.

shakedust said...

I never liked public speaking either, and I'm not very good at it. I think most people feel the same way, though.

One thing to remember: Don't get intimidated. So what if some of these people are very educated. If they are attending your lecture it must mean that they don't know everything. :)

Roaming Writer said...

Amazing what comes back to haunt us? I weaseled out of math in college. I did a book on tape when I was going to do a seminar - something like the 7 tips for fearless public speaking. It did help me, but so does repetition. Doing it over and over. By the end of the year it will not be as daunting. Plus knowing your material really really well, so it doesn't hit blank panic spots in your head. It helps to believe in the product which it sounds like you do. The people are intersested or they wouldn't be there, so like the old rock song says, Hold your head up, hold your head up - high.