Janette Parr Consulting Services

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Public Speaking ... who, me?

Posted on November 26, 2015 at 2:35 AM


Public speaking can be a challenge. When you are preparing for a ‘ live’ presentation before an audience, getting ready for an interview, or when you are making a video presentation – there are three basic things that you need to include in your planning.


Matter – what you say

Method – how you organize your material, and approach your audience

Manner – how you use your voice and your body.

I have covered all of these aspects in detail in Public Speaking … who, me?



We’ll assume that you are an expert in your field. You are probably very confident that you know your subject well. There are lots of hints in the book about choosing content – getting the right level of detail, making appeals to the intellect and the emotions, and dozens of other topics.



The book will also give you plenty of information and handy hints about organising the content of your presentation – to achieve your purpose, and engage your audience, for the greatest effect.



If your presentation and delivery don’t allow you to project the authority and confidence that you feel, what you have to offer will fail to hit the mark.


Public Speaking … who, me? covers the use of the voice (tone, volume pace, etc) and the body (stance, expression, gesture, etc).


Here are just three useful tips related to Manner. They are outlined here, and fully detailed in the book.

1. The eyes have it

So as not to give the impression of nervousness and indecision, keep your gaze steady and when you change focus, do it slowly. It signals that you are in control.


AVOID darting your eyes quickly around the room.


In a one-to-one interview, or any time you are on camera, try to blink less often.


AVOID any position where you are looking in the direction of the sun or very bright lighting.



2. Take a deep breath

So as to sound confident and controlled, breathe from the diaphragm. Practise by placing your hand just above your navel and noticing the rise and fall of the diaphragm.


AVOID breathing from the upper body. Your chest and shoulders shouldn’t move.


Pause briefly after each sentence; breathe in, through the nose, before beginning the next one


AVOID rushing from one sentence to the next until you have to stop for breath. This is the classic signal of uncertainty or nervousness. Neither inspires confidence.



3. ‘Handy’ hints

So as to look more at ease, and to encourage your audience to focus on your message, eliminate all unnecessary hand gestures.


Making gestures that aren’t designed to complement your words is merely hand waving (and can be extremely annoying)

Pointing can be interpreted as aggressive

Hand-clasping can appear as anxiety (or fake sincerity)

A few meaningful gestures, which add to the content or tone of your speaking, help to engage your audience. Too many make you seem theatrical or, worse, vague.

Try filming your presentation or interview. Treat it as a ‘rehearsal’. Be super-critical of your movements.

Watch your hands, but pay attention to your shoulders, as well. Many speakers unconsciously hold one higher than the other, or sit with hunched shoulders during interviews.



I have helped many professionals to improve their public speaking performance.


If you would like to have a copy of Public Speaking … who, me? or if you want advice or coaching before you make that important presentation, please contact me.



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