Dr Mike J Smith

Plymouth University

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Mike Smith

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Public Speaking

Sat, 28 Apr 2007

I've just finished a two-day training course on public speaking with SkillStudio. Some might think a lecturer going on a course in speaking is a strange thing to do!! However, whilst I don't have a problem in standing up in front of 100 or so people and warbling away, I do feel there is always room for improvement. Hence the course.

And finding a course on public speaking wasn't as easy as I at first thought. After a few dead ends and much trawling of the internet, I booked myself on the Advanced Presentation Skills workshop which took place in a single training room with four other participants (normally, I gather, there are 8 in total). Whilst I wasn't quite sure what to expect, it covered the sort of ground, retrospectively, that I would have imagined. This included a videoed presentation at the beginning (and feedback), relaxation, warming up (neck and voice), intonation and tone, and a variety of exercises to practise this. There was also plenty of ground covered in structuring a presentation, writing endings and intros, "hooks" or "spices" to really interest the audience, movement, pauses, removing "umms" and "errs". And lots of practise between it all. Day two, in particular, involved practising many parts of the presentation, lots of feedback and a final videoed presentation. Our trainer, Alison, was relaxed and very familiar with the whole topic. Whilst its not the sort of place that you give your CV at, she has done, training, acting, media relations, lobbying, script writing etc etc. And I have no qualms about her effectiveness and can only sing her praises when it comes to really rooting out ways of improving body movement, voice, structure, phrasing etc etc. She was really on the button.

So a really valuable two days that I can heartily recommend (as long as you can swallow the price). And to finish..... toned down evangelical preacher.

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