It was always a torturous routine for me when I had to attend seminars on behalf of my office. It might sound like a nice escapade from office for one whole day from morning till late evening. I would get to enjoy the luxury hotel's ambiance with buffet food spread and free flow of beverages. I have had enough of those pain when it was often an all day torture trying to stay awake. I realised many speakers are not good speakers in reality. Have you ever been tortured by similar occasions? Some speakers could be so boring and dragged his speech like a sad funeral's eulogy while I had to use toothpicks to keep both my eyelids opened!
The Majlis of Petaling Jaya hosted this seminar at the roof top of a hotel and invited selected participants from various media companies in Klang Valley.
This important event was graced by the Datuk Bandar (Mayor) who started off with his opening speech. He is a good speaker and has natural charms & humour. It was the first time there is a safety awareness seminar after seeing too many fatal accidents and careless mishaps that happened in the year 2017. They shared many real live videos of shocking accidents that were often due to human's negligence and oversight which could be prevented. Overall, I truly benefited tremendously from the safety awareness they have shared.
The all day event saw several speakers taking the rostrum to deliver their speeches. Some spoke too softly and one spoke all the way in Bahasa Malaysia using his slangs at top speed. Many of us including me could not catch what he rambled at the top of his voice yet no one raised their hands. The last speaker was simply the best because he was just so different and prompted me to blog it:
1. He constantly made sure that his loud and clear voice was being heard by all the audience.
2. He made eye contacts with everyone and smiled warmly.
3. He frequently walked up and down the aisle between the tables which made the audience swing their heads away from sleepiness. It was a head swing exercise for us.
4. In between, he would scream suddenly and jolted everyone up to wake up.
5. He would frequently swing, raise and pound both his hands. Those little actions made the session fully alive.
6. He spoke precisely and delivered all his important points of safety measures.
7. He got all the audience to participate and interact in individual group discussions.
The individual group's meeting session made all the participants to get to know each other which broke the ice. They had to document all the minutes and email directly to the council, just like a real life interaction. A good practice!
How would you rank yourself as a Public Speaker? I would hoot my own trumpet that many people had applauded me as a stand up comedian instead, which in other words I am a confident and brave speaker who blabs all nonsense only. Relatives and friends would love to swarm around my table during wedding dinners and gatherings just to hear my mouth uttering the most juiciest gossips and scariest tales from the crypt. Anyway that doesn't label me as a Great Speaker at all. I am just brave and confident due to my upbringing. I went up to my school's stage to deliver my story telling at the young age of 8. From then on, I went on stage to deliver pantuns, poetry and grandmother stories until 12 years old when I directed my own "Graveyard Horrors" drama which received thunderous laughter & applause from the audience at my school. It was a very silly drama that drew so much laughter instead because my pontianak came running out with my mother's bed sheet over his body. That was my childhood history.
During my advertising studies, I had one semester of Business Presentation class that made me a wreck and gave me sleepless nights just days before I had to speak to a hall full of American students. I was the only Asian with chinky sharp eyes as they called. I had to speak behind the rostrum on certain given topic by the lecturer who would stand behind me throughout my presentations. I would be given marks scored from the evaluation after the toughest part where the American students would ask me the most nerve wrecking questions from other planets and universe. Phew! I would suffer instantly from fever and cold sweats but I survived always. I have successfully spoken many times at the various big property developer's companies during the open tender presentations after getting valuable tips from my ex Hong Kong boss.
8 Easy Tips For Public Speaking:
1. Start With A Bang - Even the most experienced speakers would still get cold sweaty palms and jitters. Drink some really warm water before you deliver your speech. Start off your lines with some entertaining topics to calm yourself with mild jokes like pointing out to the bad traffic or weather that morning.
2. Practice Makes Perfection - Read through your prepared notes many times and practice by talking aloud inside a room with a mirror to reflect your actions. This method would definitely assist you to eventually discard your stage frights.
3. Don't Memorize Your Lines - Write out your full script and practice reading the outlines many times. Do not read out your speech word-for-word which is a total failure.
4. Avoid Filler Words - Many local speakers had the habits of using words like "aah", "lah" , "errr", "hmmn" and the list goes on. That is terrible and should be avoided at all costs as the audience expects the speakers to speak flawless without grammatical errors and filler words.
5. Practice To Articulate - Speak loud and very clear with your lips moving. Do not mumble and stammer. The audience would give you Zero score in the evaluation sheet if they could not hear or understand you.
6. Dress Well To Impress - Wear smart attires that makes you very comfortable. Try to avoid wearing gaudy and shocking colours with big prints that could make you look like a clown instead. I would avoid using perfumes too as some people could have allergies or dislike my choice of fragrance.
7. Make Audience Work Their Brains - Prepare your speech with good topics that is new, interesting, unique and beneficial to the audience. When they start writing down all the notes and points taken from your public speaking, that shows you are on the right track.
8. Video Yourself - We have smartphones with sophisticated features today. Use it to video yourself while you speak and deliver your topics after many practices. Review the videos and it would give you better confidence as you progress by improving all your shortcomings. It would be helpful if your colleague could observe your practice and point out all areas for improvement.