It was a great group! I gave a public speaking workshop at Unity, Naples this past Friday while in Florida visiting my mother. I’ve developed a new group workshop for nonprofessional speakers who want to learn how to tell about themselves to groups – church groups, networking groups, Meet-up groups, etc., – that I wanted to try out– and this group of attendees was phenomenal!
We met in the Fireplace Room at Unity, with windows that looked out on the gorgeous, lush grounds.
After deep breathing, which not only gets everyone calm and centered, but is essential for proper voice production, I had everyone join in a brief singing exercise. I asked everyone, on the count of three, to sing whatever note they wanted to, but NOT CHANGE IT, no matter how awful it sounded with everyone else. They did that, and it was pretty bad! (As it was meant to be…) Then, I asked them to do the same thing, but this time to listen and adjust until they liked what they heard. They did, and eventually we got a major chord.
I asked what they got from this exercise. The responses were that we need to listen to each other and that we need to be prepared to leave our position. That’s right! When attending a public speaking workshop – or any other type of group – it’s essential to listen to others and be prepared to leave your point of view. (And doing this type of interactive exercise models for others the types of things they can get their audiences to do.)
Then I told a brief story about myself. My opening line was that I believe everyone needs to tell their “story” as that’s the only way the world will be healed. (More on that in another post.) I talked about how I relaunched my speech coaching business to focus on heart-centered speakers, authors, and coaches, developed this new workshop, and want to help people tell their authentic stories to heal the world.
This is also the format I said we’d work with for the next two hours: make a statement about something you believe in, tell a short story to back it up, and then bring that statement back in at the close. There are many possible formats, but this is an easy one to start with.
The group was so good – we had people who love animals, people who create art as an expression of spirituality, people who share calm and peace with others, people whose spiritual practice involves meditating and journaling, and so much more. I didn’t have to do much coaching on content, so stuck mainly to presentation skills. I got everyone to practice the puppy dog whimper and humming – both of which get your voice into a good place to resonate properly. And we talked about natural hand gestures and how to make sure you look at your audience rather than scan the wall in back of them. (C’mon, everyone has done that – right?)
The two hours went by too fast, and everyone came away with ideas to put into practice.
It was a great way to launch this new workshop!