Public Speaking & Elocution
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Public Speaking & Elocution
We are in Marin and 14 yr old daughter is terrified of presenting in front of her
Peers. It's beginning to threaten her academic performance. Does anyone know
Of a toastmasters group in Marin Count or nearby
That would be appropriate for teens. Any other suggestions would
A slightly different approach -- have you thought of improv classes? My
daughter has taken classes at Bay Area Theatre Sports (BATS) in Fort Mason,
www.improv.org. They were great -- the teachers have a lot of experience with
kids -- but there may be improv classes closer to you as well. This may be a
fun route to go.
Hi! I work for the Y in Berkeley, but I would suggest contacting the Marin
YMCA about their Youth & Government program. One of my sons participates
through the Albany Y and there are lots of opportunities to practice speech in
a very comfortable, caring environment with quite a bit of support. Good luck!
I used to teach a class called, Public Speaking with Confidence. I can offer a
few tips. It helps to be prepared with what you are going to say. There are
tons of books on how to create and deliver a good presentation. It's also
helpful to watch a great speaker, like perhaps a TED talk (www.TED.com)
See if your daughter is okay with you videoing her doing a presentation. Then
use some of the guidelines you discovered in reading, or the things you noticed
working well in good speakers.
Chances are part of the issue is the challenge many teens have regarding peer
acceptance vs. rejection.
Specifically, good speakers stand comfortably, do not slouch, rock or fidget.
They make eye contact with people in the audience, use appropriate hand
gestures. It's important to project so people in the back can hear. Being
familiar enough with the material so you don't need to read it is important
because you lose eye contact and are boring when you just read. I recommend
just having a few notes or an outline on numbered index cards. Smiling is good.
Breathing is excellent. Stop and breath before starting and again before
exiting. (No one will ever say, ''Wait, was she breathing?'') Breathing is also
a good way to pause rather than saying um.
Hope this helps.
My daughter is doing well on her high school debate team. She feels
her arguments are solid, but would like some tutoring on speaking and
presentation. Does anyone know a good tutor for debate or public
Thanks for any ideas
My daughter found the Stanford Debate Camps inspirational and as a HS
Senior won the California State Championship with her debate partner.
Do a Google search for: Stanford National Forensic Institute. The students
live in the dorms @ Stanford (wonderful setting)and meet interesting
students from around the nation who attend this camp. The best part is
being around other kids who share their passion for speech and debate.
SNFI debate Camp dates:
Date: Jul 29th - Aug 4th Grade: 9th-12th Location: Stanford
Date: Aug 5th - Aug 11th Grade: 9th-12th Location: Stanford
Mom of Debater
I am looking for someone to help me speak loudly and project my
voice better and have some vocal variety. This is not singing
related just to improve presentation and speaking. May be something
unconventional like acting lessons would be the answer.
Even though you are talking about well...talking...or speaking, it might be
helpful to talk to a singing voice teacher.
When we sing, we are learning to use our voice to the maximum...to breathe
properly, use the larynx/voicebox in the proper most effective way, to
project teh sound by relaxing the throat, enunciate properly, open the
mouth enough, sound vowels properly. All these things are what we use to
speak and to sing.
that said, I know that Berkeley rep ahs a lot of classes for
actors. You could also try the Jazz School on Addison in Bkly.
I can recommend my voice teacher, Ellen Robinson, email@example.com.
She'd at least be good to talk to about what you're looking for. Good luck
I highly recommend Cara Hale Alter at Speechskills
(http://www.public-speaking.com/) I was fortunate to be able to take a
class from her---Projecting Credibility and Confidence--paid for by my
work. She was teaching at UC Extension...don't know if she still does.
She's a great teacher and excellent coach. She helps you identify your
strengths and weaknesses in a very non-threatening, non-judgmental, helpful
I don't have any experience with the other trainers in her company but
I need a good presentation coach who can also help me cope with my
intense fear of public speaking. I'd like help both with improving
my presentation skills (for the sake of my audience), and with
reducing my painful anxiety (for my own sake). Any recommendations?
Have you checked out Toastmasters? Like you, I struggle with
extreme anxiety in group settings and just the thought of giving
a presentation would leave me anxious for weeks. I joined
Toastmasters about 6 months ago and what a difference ! This is
a great organization. And, like us, most people join because
they are terrified of public speaking. The atmosphere is warm
and welcoming. People are rooting for you! I mean it. Each
speech you give is evaluated but with the utmost sincerity and
the desire to help you succeed. There is no pressure. One
thing I learned was that I have strengths when speaking (and I
thought I had none). I noticed real growth when I gave a
presentation at an international conference this year. Prior to
Toastmasters, I would have been paralyzed with fear. But this
time was different. Yes, I was anxious but only right before
speaking. The presentation went well and I actually made
contacts and enjoyed the conference. Toastmasters has allo!
wed me to grow both personally and professionally. The cost is
around $39 every 6 months. A bargain compared to a coach. And
you get to meet a lot of great people. I highly recommend it.
Go to www.toastmasters.org to find a meeting location. There
are a lot of meetings out there and you can shop around until
you find the right club for you. I am a member of the Walnut
Creek Toastmasters (a great club meeting every Wednesday from
7-8pm). Stop by if you are in the area. Best of luck. You are
Have you tried (or thought of trying) Toastmasters? I was part
of the organization for several years, until I had my baby. It's
an inexpensive way to get some practice speaking, for people who
are all pretty kind and understanding and who also have to get
up to speak. Try out a couple different meetings til you find
one you like - I went to one on Thursday mornings at 7 am at
Summit Hospital, but most of them meet in the evening.
Another option, but one that's much more expensive, would be to
try a Dale Carnegie class. There's also a lot of support in
those classes, and you learn a lot of relational stuff in
addition to the speaking parts. They've got really great leaders
for their classes.
Good luck and have fun! When I started in Toastmasters, I was
very, very anxious before I got up to speak, and now I can get
up and speak with not much nervousness at all. It took practice,
and for a while I couldn't believe I would put myself through
that again and again, but in the end I realized I had fun
speaking in public!
I highly recommend Sydney Barbara Metrick, PhD. as a public
speaking coach. She teaches a class in the West Contra Costa
Adult Eduction program called ''Public Speaking with Pizazz'',
and she also works with people privately. She is both a
certfiied hypnotherapist and expressive arts therapist and has
lots of experience working with people with many different fears
in a variety of ways. She is great to work with, and a very
dynamic public speaker herself. She can help you develop
confidence, and ''Pizzazz'' as a speaker. I found her to be
very non-judgmental which makes it easy to work with her, and to
build one's confidence. I used to be scared to death to stand
up and speak in any group setting, but now feel totally strong
and confident in any setting. I teach and give talks and
lectures on a regular basis now. She can be reached at: 510 223
For the poster who needs need a good presentation coach who can
also help you cope with your intense fear of public
speaking...you bet I have a recommendation for you:
You will love me for recommending her because you will love
Anna! Anna uses body-based techniques with her highly
compassionate coaching. She can help you break your own barriers
I am looking for a safe place where I can get experience getting up and
speaking in front of other people. I went to a Toastmasters in a couple
different states and nobody there said anything to me and it seemed they
are more interested in getting you to sign up and donate money; I didn't
see much practice getting up and speaking. Plus they were very boring
business types, nothing at all where I'm coming from. I am wondering if
someone thinks I should find a communications class in a college or junior
college, or if there are other resources.
A bit of background: I am a stutterer but in my early 20s had speech
therapy which helped me learn how to control the stuttering nearly all the
time. The therapy involved a lot of speaking on phones and in person to
overcome my fears; it worked and I do both of these all the time at work
and have done so for over 20 years. But I never learned to overcome my
horrible freezing up, bottoming of self confidence, and panic attacks that
occur when I have to get in front of others and talk, or get involved in
group discussions, things like that. In addition to the feelings and
fears described I feel I have nothing to contribute so who would want to
listen to me? I fear getting shot down every time I open my mouth, which
seems to always happen. This panic about speaking has had profound
repercussions in my personal and professional life: I left an Ivy League
graduate program because of these speech panic attacks -- the classes were
full of very self confident young women who had no compunctions whatsoever about speaking up and I felt like I was
substandard and did not belong there.
So I like to hope that if I could learn how to talk on the phone and
interpersonally, I can learn how to speak up around other people, that it
is a skill one can learn. I am living in Berkeley again (I switched to a
distance program so I don't have to worry about speaking in front of other
students or faculty, who grade on class participation). Any suggestions
are most welcome.
Please, don't give up because of this. It will get better. when
people used to tell me that, I would scoff at them. when i was in
grad school (a phd program) i developed almost a social anxiety
disorder about speaking up in class. It was horrible and it had a
huge effect on what jobs I pursued (i went into research, not
teaching). Well thru a few years of research, lo and behold I am now
in a constant position of having to present my work. What works for
me now? beta blockers aka Propanalol. They do nothing to affect your
cognition, they just keep your parasympathetic nervous system (panic
attacks) from happening. You still feel nervous, but you don't
panic. After a few presentations taking beta blockers, you then
realize that you can do this. That it isn't such a life or death
thing. And what i realized was that what I was really panicking
about was the panic itself.
talk to your doctor. Mine was very open to writing me a prescription
to try a beta blocker. It has done wonders for my career. I now
present every couple of months, and when some research needs to be
presented, my boss asks me to present rather than him because he
thinks I am better at it than he is.
Both Piedmont and West Contra County adult schools have public
speaking classes. They are typically small and made up of all types
of people. Each class has instruction and an opportunity to do a
2-3 minute speech before a video camera. You can then see and
evaluate your self at the end of each session--a very helpful tool.
Adult school classes are generally very affordable.
adult ed advocate
Can people who have participated or are participating in local Toastmaster's groups tell a bit about their
experiences? It seems easiest to pick based on what fits in the schedule, but are there other considerations?
If anyone can give specifics, that would be appreciated.
Lakeview Toastmasters is a terrific group -- they've been in existence for
over 40 years -- a warm, supportive, fun place to build your speaking
skills and confidence. They meet every Thursday 7-8am at Summit Hospital
in conference room just off the cafeteria. I've been a member for several
years (currently on a break due to my heavy workload - planning to return
I am looking for recommendations for a class, seminar, or therapist (or
all of the above) to help me cope with my paralyzing fear of public
speaking. I am not looking to become a famous lecturer or anything. I
just want to be able to stand in front of a group of parents at my school
and give a talk, run a PTA meeting, give a toast at a wedding, and so on.
All my life I have avoided making speeches or giving presentations. It
has held back my career and even hurt feelings (as when I was maid of
honor for my best friend and couldn't bring myself to make a toast). I
can't even read to class of young kids with out shaking, turning red, and
freaking out. The funny thing is that in small groups and meetings, I am
fine and outgoing. I told one person recently that I couldn't give a talk at
a PTA meeting, and she absolutely refused to believe it because I am
outgoing and seem very confident.
Does anyone know of any good ways to deal with this? I definitely need
outside help, but searching for help so far has pulled up self-hypnosis
and oddball self-help gurus. I really want to work through this with
someone reputable. Lastly, has anyone ever tried beta blockers? Are
they bad for your system?
I think it's fairly common to be nervous and even fearful about
public speaking. In my career, I had many occasions to speak in
front of government regulators and members of the public about
health risks. Not exactly a ''feel-good'' topic!
We started a Toastmasters group at our workplace to give us
more practice with public speaking, and it really did get
easier! Even fun! Toastmasters is an international organization
with meetings all over the place. Their program is well
organized and they have a ton of educational resources. You can
check them out at http://www.toastmasters.org/ and think about
joining a group, or forming one! Remember, everyone there has
started out with the desire to become a better speaker and
everyone can relate to the nervousness. It was actually a great
team-building experience, since everyone really does encourage
you and wants you to do your best. And everyone has had their
share of mess-ups. Toastmasters actually teaches you how to
deal with mess-ups and how to channel your nervousness into
positive energy. I loved it! Hope you try it.
Although I hesistate to push pharmaceuticals, here goes: as a
singer with mild stage fright I've tried Beta Blockers,
specifically Inderol (sometimes humorously referred to as ''End-
it-All'') with good results. I don't really know the data on
what it does to your system, but my parents are both
professional musicians who have used it off and on throughout
their careers with no obvious ill effects. You only use it when
you need it (an hour to hour and a half before you go ''on
stage''), so it's probably not too bad. It works wonderfully to
give a sense of calm, takes away the shakes, and lets you do
what needs to be done. One side-effect I've noticed is a
slightly dry mouth sometimes, but keeping a bottle of water
handy solves that.
Having said all that, I hope someone else gives a good
recommendation for a coach or class, since learning confidence
is probably what you're really looking for.
Wishing you luck.
Speaking Circles, developed by the brilliant and funny Lee Glickstein, is
a fabulous way to learn to love speaking to any size of group. You learn
through gentle practice (no negative comments ever allowed) in front of
small groups. One of Lee's principles is that the speaker starts by
receiving. It's so easy to stay in presence. I now adore public speaking!
I love Toastmasters. There are many clubs with a variety of
meeting times and vibes in the East Bay. Toastmasters is
designed to ease you into and teach you about public speaking
and leadership in a friendly, very low cost and fun
environment. It's one of my main non-mommy related outlets and
I have really enjoyed it. I'm in the Oakland Hills club and
would be happy to give you more info. The Toastmasters website
lists all the clubs there are, I believe. Cheers, Lina
You might want to join a Toastmasters group. Here is a blurb from their website
www.toastmasters.org. I was a member for a while and really learned a lot. Each
club is different, so if don't like the first one you try, try another.
''At Toastmasters, members learn by speaking to groups and working with others in
a supportive environment. A typical Toastmasters club is made up of 20 to 30
people who meet once a week for about an hour. Each meeting gives everyone an
opportunity to practice:
Conducting meetings. Meetings usually begin with a short business session which
helps members learn basic meeting procedures.
Giving impromptu speeches. Members present one-to two-minute impromptu
speeches on assigned topics. Presenting prepared speeches. Three or more
members present speeches based on projects from the Toastmasters International
Communication and Leadership Program manuals. Projects cover such topics as
speech organization, voice, language, gestures, and persuasion.
Offering constructive evaluation. Every prepared speaker is assigned an evaluator
who points out speech strengths and offers suggestions for improvement.''
I can totally sympathize! Albany Gateview Toastmasters worked
for me - really small group (maybe 5 people) and supportive
environment. After a couple months I realized that the anxiety
I had built up about it was really anxiety about failure and
really had nothing to do with my ability to speak in public
which is now quite solid. You're already on the road to
overcoming this because you've taken the first step to ask for
help. Good luck!
One program worth considering is Speaking Circles. I attended a 1-day
workshop and found it to be a very interesting approach, though I'm not
yet sold on its usefulness for my particular needs. It might be a good
place for you to start, as it's a very gentle program, nothing like
Toastmasters. Check out the website to see if it's something that would
appeal to you -- www.speakingcircles.com
Toastmasters helped me quite a bit when I was in grad school and had
to teach and make presentations. I think there are a couple of
Toastmasters groups in the East Bay. If you Google ''Toastmasters'' you
should be able to find their website.
How about an improv class? It's a really fun way to deal with
stage fright. East Bay Improv teaches classes at the Albany
Community Center. The beginning classes have lots of non-
actors. It's a supportive environment where everyone else is
in the same boat you are. http://www.eastbayimprov.com/
Is there a place in the East Bay where one can take diction
lessons? My husband wants to lose, or at least tone down, an accent.
Joan Cehn is a licensed/credentialed speech pathologist in
Oakland with over 15 years of experience, including accent
modification/reduction. Her Masters in Speech Pathology is from
Northwestern University. She can be reached at 510-301-1345, or
joanc1036 (at) aol.com.
I highly recommend Butterfield Speaks in San Francisco. Richard
Butterfield has been providing this service for many professionals,
after having worked in acting for years. He also works outside of San
Francisco, e.g., in the East Bay, Los Angeles, and as far away as
Australia. I'm not sure of the phone number, but it should be in the
phone book. Wendy
Although I have never tried it myself, Toastmasters (in Berkeley, I think)
has been recommended to me by both a career counselor and a writer who
used it to prepare for a book tour. There's an 800 number in the White
Pages that will help you find the closest group. L. Silver
I highly recommend joining a Toastmasters group in your area. Toastmasters
is an international organization dedicated to improving public speaking skills.
Like many club-oriented organizations, you do need to find a group with which
you "click," so don't be discouraged if you need to try a few different clubs
out to find the one that's right for you. Before mommyhood, I worked for an
environmental consulting firm doing human health risk assessment. I frequently
needed to present findings to members of the public, and often found these
presentations daunting. Toastmasters helped me a great deal--I'm a believer.
Look them up in your phone book
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