This is the sequel to my previous post: “Public Unspeaking”, on my epic saga on a confrontation against the Beast of Speech itself. This is Act 2: how to forge that magic sword. There had been a huge problem with the previous post when I realised I had not published the post. It was either my mistake or something wrong with the publish button. I’m guessing the latter.
So this is roughly the second week into public speaking quasi-marathon. My first presentation was set on this Wednesday and I had only just laid out the complete speech manuscript, only to find out that it was only 5-minutes long, a total of 5-minutes short of what I should do. But in the end, after the few hours of speaking, I was spent. Couldn’t continue any more, so here am I, retreating to the comfort zone of typing.
The week earlier I had scoured what precious time I had to brush up on my non-existent speaking skills, tailored exactly to fix my five fatal flaws in speech. (It involved a lot of complaints on my eyebrows on my part. They just don’t move, at all.) Since that tragedy, I hadn’t braved myself before a camera again though, because in addition to my face problem, my voice and speech flow had enough issues by themselves, so that was what I had been working on.
My methods aren’t really complete. They are mostly impromptu and really, really custom-made for myself. So far there are three stages in my plan, and right now I am at the first stage. A slow progress, but the first stage, ultimately, is the fundamentals. You have to get it right.
1. Talk like how I type
You know how I type. I type into tomorrow. I typed until my less than two year old laptop’s space bar is half crippled that I had to use my left thumb to hit space. Even the Enter key goes wonky sometimes. So yes, I type like a hell lot. So here’s the logic, if I can talk like how I type, I suppose I’m one step further into making a better presentation. So I considered deeply on how I typed.
I typed (or wrote) on every opportunity. Give me a notepad.exe or a piece of paper, I can start writing. Tell me things, I drop them down in essay form almost exclusively. Point forms sometime couldn’t get the stuffs right, you see. If I had anything important to say, I type them out (and keep them to myself? :D) And if I have really important things to say to something that requires proper speech planning, I need to write a damn manuscript beforehand or I would stutter all the way down.
So it means I had to start talking to myself. Go bonkers. Look at the sky and start giving comments. Look at the bus and give an impromptu speech on why was the bus late. Faced with the hell load of to-do-list? Rather than taking a chocolate, let me vent it out through speech. Speak it out like a boss.
I summarise the three basic rules. Talk Every Time. Talk Every Where. Talk Every Thing.
(P/S: It really sounded like an ad-line for a Digi or Celcom…)
2. Face yourself
This part is going to be a little tricky, because I’m one of those peoples who can’t stand looking at my own self speaking. Maybe I’m really just a bad speaker, but I’m working on it. This had been actually the first stage, but if I don’t want to give myself a fright on your first day tackling the Beast of Speech, I suggest myself to keep to the first stage for at least a week, but I had already done that and regretted it, so whatever.
The first stage honed the skills entirely in speech, idea formation and information delivering. It was solely speaking to yourself that kind of thing, and you worked solely on the confidence at your own self. This stage works on eye contact with yourself, and communicating effectively to yourself. I supposed that if I can’t talk to myself, chances are I won’t be able to talk to someone else properly either. Of course, you can also use a mirror, but I don’t always have a mirror (fact: I stow my half-body-length mirror away in a cupboard).
Also the hardest stage for me, as my five fatal flaws had largely to do with my lack of facial expressions. Eye contact, eyebrows, eyes and lips. I am going to make them move by Wednesday.
3: Giving Peoples the Johnson Treatment
“It was an incredible blend of badgering, cajolery, reminders of past favors, promises of future favors, predictions of gloom if something doesn’t happen. When that man started to work on you, all of a sudden, you just felt that you were standing under a waterfall and the stuff was pouring on you.”
-A contemporary on President Lyndon B. Johnson, Wikipedia
I think I had a new role model for public speaking, and LBJ’s the right guy. Of course, at a little over five feet tall, I am a long way to go. LBJ is 6 feet 4, so yes, it really is a long way up.
By Johnson Treatment, I don’t actually mean by giving my tutor such a treatment. Not mentioning the impossibility of such thing ever happening, that would have been an overkill for a 10-minute presentation on Cloud Technology. By Johnson Treatment, I mean putting in all the powers of speech into the delivery of speech itself into a presentation with at least 10% of Johnson’s brand of persuasion. It isn’t going to be Niagara Falls. Less than a quarter of that will do. The key is in the concept, which I think would make more sense if I put the words in the following way…
“It was an incredible blend of badgering, cajolery, stressing on main points, elaborating of pro’s and con’s, generous offering of possibilities and otherwise’s if those points didn’t work out. When the presentation started to work on you, all of a sudden, you just felt that you were standing under a waterfall and the stuff was pouring on you.”
-Me on an Ideal Presentation, Impromptupedia
And that, I conclude the second part of the Epic Saga of “Confronting the Beast of Speech”. I’m still out of breath from talking to myself for hours earlier, so I’m going off to chill now. A short nap, and then perhaps, a little wistfully perhaps, an episode of Suits to learn more American wisecracking humour.
Next: Public Outspeaking