Proven and tested ways to effective public speaking

Don’t pull a Gwynnie…
Public speaking ranks as one of the nations biggest
phobias, according to a YouGov survey released earlier
this year.
Here are 10 ways to help you embrace the critical glare of
an anticipant audience:
According to psychology professor Thomas Plante from
Santa Clara University, people can overcome anxiety over
public speaking by thinking of a confident public speaker
they admire – then pretending to be an actor playing that
It may seem like quite a complicated exercise in self-
deception, but he says that by channelling your inner
actor, your behaviour will follow your forced actions.
“Research, as well as best clinical practices, has
demonstrated that if you can behave in a particular way
(e.g., confident, comfortable) then your feelings will
follow your behaviour,” he wrote in Psychology Today .
“For example, force a smile or laugh and you’ll likely feel
a little better. Force a frown and you’ll likely feel a little
worse. In a nutshell, if you can act like a comfortable and
confident speaker (even if you don’t feel that way) you’ll
find that you’ll start to feel comfortable and confident
over time.”
Winston Churchill was one of the greatest orators of the
20th century, but public speaking didn’t come naturally to
the late prime minister.
His stammer and lisp caused him much anxiety and were
traits he feared would hold him back in politics.
To get round this he created what is described by leading
Churchill commentator David Cannadine in his book In
Churchill’s Shadow , as a “personal style”.
He chose “unusual words and phrases so as to avoid the
treacherous rhythm of everyday speech” and studied the
speeches of a range of great orators, mixing their most
distinctive traits with his own delivery.
Instead of panicking before your big speech, book a
meeting room, close the blinds and tell everyone you’re on
a ‘important call’. Then tap into some much-needed inner
peace with a spot of quiet meditation for half an hour. A
study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins University
School of Medicine in Baltimore found it helps people to
alleviate anxiety and depression.
“A lot of people use meditation, but it’s not a practice
considered part of mainstream medical therapy for
anything,” said the university’s Madhav Goyal. “But in our
study, meditation appeared to provide as much relief from
some anxiety and depression symptoms as what other
studies have found from antidepressants.”
Standing up to face people in a presentation situation
makes most people restless and nervous but scientific
evidence cited by the University of Maryland Medical
Center suggests that aromatherapy with lavender can slow
down the nervous system and reduce anxiety.
Not only that, but it’s also been found to lift and stabilise
mood and enhance concentration.
Rather than simply inhaling a whiff of lavender oil before
stepping onto the podium, book a massage. [ Studies
suggest that getting a rubdown with the oil is particularly
effective in combating nerves.
Don’t even think about missing out on sleep to practice
your speech – researchers have found that people’s voice
“flattens” after being awake for too long.
Research from the University of Melbourne found that the
more tired we are, the less control we have over our
speech muscles – slowing our voices down and and
diminishing the gravity of tone.
“Individual voice patterns diminish the more tired you
become, so you lose your voice personality, you become a
bit flatter,” acoustician Dr Adam Vogel told the Sydney
Morning Herald .
You could do worse than take advice from Barack Obama.
Handily, the President’s debate trainers offered some ultra
professional tips in their book last year Double Down.
Public Speaking Truth summarises and analyses the
advice here.
You’ve got to do a speech – yay! That may not be your
natural reaction to public speaking, but according to a
study by the American Psychological Association, people
who tell themselves to get excited before a speech, rather
than trying to relax, can improve their performance.
“Anxiety is incredibly pervasive. People have a very
strong intuition that trying to calm down is the best way
to cope with their anxiety, but that can be very difficult
and ineffective,” said study author Dr Alison Wood Brooks,
of Harvard Business School. “When people feel anxious
and try to calm down, they are thinking about all the
things that could go badly. When they are excited, they are
thinking about how things could go well.”
Stage fright isn’t a bad thing – in fact it can be used to
your advantage before a big speech, according to
psychologists from the University of Rochester .
“The problem is that we think all stress is bad, ” lead
author Jeremy Jamieson, explained. “We see headlines
about ‘Killer Stress’ and talk about being ‘stressed out.'”
Before speaking in public, people often interpret stress
sensations, like butterflies in the stomach, as a warning
that something bad is about to happen.
“But those feelings just mean that our body is preparing to
address a demanding situation. The body is marshaling
resources, pumping more blood to our major muscle
groups and delivering more oxygen to our brains.”
In other words, some fear is natural and helps us perform
better under the glare of an audience.
In an age of bluetooth headsets, muttering to yourself as
you wander down the street is perfectly acceptable – and
according to experts “Self-talk” can have a positive,
motivational effect.
“We all do it, whether we’re aware of it or not,” Dr.
Elizabeth Bernstein told the Wall Street Journal . “Athletes
do it all the time and we can learn from them. They talk
themselves through the task.”
She advises keeping it short, precise and consistent and –
this sounds a little odd – says we should address ourselves
by our first name, rather than “I”, to add “distance”.
Amanda Seyfried admitted in 2012 that she indulged in a
small alcoholic sharpener before appearing on a talk-show
to get her through her stage fright.
“I understand that I have a problem, maybe,” she joked.
“But you know what? It really gets me through.”
Obviously we’re not advocating using alcohol as a crutch
before your next big speech though – especially if it’s a
work presentation.


Food for thought

This is something to think about:  4 WIVES

Once upon  a time there was a rich King who had four wives.

He loved the 4th wife the most and adored her with rich robes and treated her to the finest of delicacies. He gave her nothing but the best.

He also loved the 3rd wife very much and was always
showing her off to neighboring kingdoms. However, he feared that  one day she would leave him for another.

He also loved his 2nd wife. She was his confidant and was always kind, considerate and patient with him. Whenever the King faced a problem, he could confide in her, and she would help him get through the difficult times.

The King’s 1st wife was a very loyal partner and had made great contributions in maintaining his wealth and kingdom. However, he did not love the first wife. Although she loved him deeply, he hardly took notice of her!

One day, the King fell ill and he knew his time was short.
He thought of his luxurious life and wondered, I now have
four wives with me, but when I die, I’ll be all alone.”

Thus, he asked the 4th wife , “I loved you the most,
endowed you with the finest clothing and showered great care over you. Now that I’m dying, will you follow me and keep me company?”

“No way!”, replied the 4th wife, and she walked away without another word. Her answer cut like a sharp knife right into his heart.

The sad King then asked the 3rd wife, “I loved you all my
life. Now that I’m dying,will you follow me and keep me

“No!”, replied the 3rd wife. “Life is too good! When you die, I’m going to remarry!”
His heart sank and turned cold.

He then asked the 2nd wife, “I have always turned to you for help and you’ve always been there for me. When I die, will you follow me and keep me company?”

“I’m sorry, I can’t help you out this time!”, replied the 2nd wife.  “At the very most,I can only walk with you to your grave.”

Her answer struck him like a bolt of lightning, and the
King was devastated.  Then a voice called out: “I’ll go with you. I’ll follow you  no matter where you go.”

The King looked up, and there was his first wife. She was
very skinny as she suffered from malnutrition and neglect.

Greatly grieved, the King said, “I should have taken much
better care of you when I had the chance!”

In truth, we all have the 4 wives in our lives:

Our 4th wife is our body. No matter how much time and
effort we lavish in making it look good, it will leave us when we die.

Our 3rd wife is our possessions, status and wealth. When we die,  it will all go to others.

Our 2nd wife is our family and friends. No matter how much they have been there for us, the furthest they can stay  by us is up to the grave.

And our 1st wife is our Soul. Often neglected in pursuit of
wealth, power   pleasures of the world.

However, our Soul is the only thing that will follow us
where ever we go. Cultivate, strengthen and cherish it now, for it is the only part of us that will follow   to the
throne  of God and continue with us throughout Eternity.

Thought for the day: Remember, when the world pushes you to your knees, you’re in the perfect position to pray.