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Fear of public speaking still tops the charts in many clinical and university studies as it matches up to other common human phobias. Texas Christian University assistant professor Paul L. Witt, PhD, and some of his colleagues studied several dozens of both male and female public speaking candidates. They found reactions such as anxiety, panic and gastrointestinal symptoms present in the candidates as a result of their fear or distaste in speaking in front of a crowd. The key to effectively mastering the delivery of a oral presentation is proper preparation and knowledge of the material. By putting a creative spin to it, the information can be transmitted smoother, and overall fear can be reduced greatly.
Mock Talk Show
Diverting the attention from the speaker to the audience in the form of a mock talk show is a skillful way to shake off preliminary nerves. The data collected can be prepared in a question-and-answer format, with the orator serving as the talk show “host” and the audience as the inquiring panel. The first round of topics can be explained by the host to provide an overview of the topics.
For presentations that must be dispensed in a nontraditional classroom or office setting, such as a promotional piece for a venue, park or active space, the speaker can prepare to take the addressees on a walking tour where details can be presented to them along the way. This system would work in a case where, for example, a director of a state park is presenting reasons to save the natural setting to a group of construction builders or where downtown art district aficionados are making a pitch to city councilmen.
Improv Parody or Karaoke-style Opera
For the creative speaker with far less fears, granting attendees with a comedic delivery method may be a way to win favorites and get great ratings overall. Staging an improv segment that adds humor and wit to the content is a great way to capture the audience’s attention and help them to remember the subject matter at hand. For the overly talented speakers, another alternative to the improv parody is to showcase a karaoke-style singsong presentation of material, using an opera format throughout the duration of the production. These styles can be used when there are multiple numbers of members in the group who are required to present information to a crowd and/or can be used as a break in a traditional lecture format.
Crystal Green is a marketing and event management consultant specializing in non-profit organizations and small businesses. Green spent the last seven years working for a statewide education association directing their trade publications, writing articles for programs' training teams and other event-related freelance projects. Green hold a Bachelor's degree in Journalism, and is currently working on advanced degrees.