Public Speaking Academy

Public Speaking Academy

Posted By admin |11 Jun 2015
Public Speaking Academy

Public Speaking Aacademy 

Neal Strik

On the 9th and 10th of May I attended the Public Speaking Academy in Birmingham. It was attended by 12 members from all over the UK. The training was lead by Sarah Beckwith (Deputy National President) and Solveig Malvik (2012 UK National President).  Sarah told us that who when she first started public speaking a few years ago, she was extremely nervous but is now much more comfortable and even is a regular member of Toast Masters (public speaking club) in London. Solveig has trained public speaking skills before and has taken part in a number of competitions. Both had quite different styles in training which gave a good array of skills, advice, as well as inspiration.

The Weekend kicked off with a talk from Sarah and Solveig talking about stance and structuring your speech.  Mostly around how to tell a story and how to stand when talking, this included using the space of the stage and how to use your hands when telling your story. We then had a trainer who taught us some brilliant techniques on breathing and how to increase lung capacity with stretches.

After all the training we began frantically re-writing our speeches that we had prepared before attending the training.  We then began running through our speeches each taking it in turns and giving each other constructive feedback.

The first run through was extremely nerve wrecking but once we’d finished, it felt liberating like I’d conquered a small mountain. But also it was great to get constructive feedback on small things that we wouldn’t normally notice, like my infamous tapping foot!

The second day was great getting more training on breathing and stage presence as well other forms of public speaking including extempore (off the cuff speaking). Rewriting our speeches based on feedback from the previous day all quickly followed that. Once re-written we took to the stage and spoke for the final time and gave each other feedback again.

The weekend for me was life changing I now feel more confident in presenting and public speaking which I didn’t have before. And simply it was nice to know that even current local presidents were just as nervous as me despite having seen them stand up hundreds of times before. It just goes to show that no matter who we are and no matter how confident we look, public speaking is an art and scary to most. But with a huge amount of JCI support and techniques when practiced can really help make it easier.

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Even one month on from the course I still feel like that mountain is under my feet and managed to talk myself in to having a go in the JCI Yorkshire Extempore competition in Sheffield. Which again was unnerving but didn’t feel half as bad as that first run through of my speech, back at public speaking academy the month before. I think this just goes to show that the course was a huge help and I’m hoping to use the course again and do another big speech in future.

I’d suggest anyone thinking of doing this course next year should book on andeven those who haven’t considered it to book on as it’s a truly brilliant course.

Neal Stirk, 2015 Community Action Director