How To Succeed In Public Speaking

How To Succeed In Public Speaking

It may not be enjoyable, but it doesn't have to be difficult.
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There will always be a point in life where you have to stand up in front of an audience to speak. Public speaking seems to be everyone's worst enemy. There are classes on it in, seminars, funny anecdotes, the list goes on. It goes without saying that for some people, it is their biggest fear. Well, I can tell you now, fear no more. Public speaking actually happens to be something I enjoy. Now I'm not saying I don't get nervous and freak like most, but in the end it is something I find, may I dare say, fun? The following is how to succeed when public speaking.

1. Figure out who your audience is.

Audience is a big factor in to how your speech will go. Depending on who you are talking to will indicate what kind of language, tone, and points you may bring up. Try to gauge the size of the audience as well. While you will be ready to go with a big or small group, knowing the size before hand will help so there isn't any shock factor when the day arrives.

2. Do some research.

Your speech may be over the simplest thing, however you can never be over prepared. Put some thought and research into what you will be talking about. You may think you know everything about the subject, but its always better to check if you are missing something that could affect how your speech goes.

3. Write down the major points you want to touch upon.

There is always a beginning, middle, and end when speaking on something; let's make sure you get everything you want to say out within that time. You may feel like it is silly to write down the obvious things you want to speak on, but when you're in the moment you may forget. By writing them down, you can visualize the list of things and not miss a point.

4. Make note cards.

Whether you end up using them while you talk or not, write on some notecards! You can plan your entire speech out or just write some short blurbs, it is up to you. My best advice is to write everything you would like to say and how you want to deliver it on the cards. You can use them to practice up until the very moment you go on.

5. Recite your speech in the mirror.

Before consulting anyone else with your thoughts, consult yourself! It will sound very silly, but look at yourself in the mirror and recite your speech out loud. This will allow you to see how you look while speaking and you can hear everything you have to say. You will be able to change the way you look if you want and will be able to edit your speech with things you missed while just writing it.

6. Repeat your speech to a close acquaintance.

If you are able to, it is always beneficial to have someone else besides yourself hear what you have to say before delivering it. They can give you feedback or just words of encouragement. Either will help.

7. Practice your power pose.

Everyone has their power pose, you may not think so, but it is true. Find out what you feel most comfortable in and in control. Are you standing feet planted straight on? Are you holding your hands, crossing your arms, using your upper body to express emotion? Whatever you feel best in, find that position and stay with it.

8. Act confident.

You may feel like you want to hide under a rock or run away, but you can't show that. If you stand there exuberayting confidence, people will believe that is how you are. Eventually you will feel confident as well and you won't even have to act. Fake it till you make it.

9. Don't picture everyone in their underwear.

This is honestly one of the most outrageous piece's of advice I have heard for public speaking. One, why would this make you feel better? Two, if you try this method, it will probably just steer you in the wrong direction and there goes your train of thought. Instead of imagining the audience in their underwear, look at them for who they are. Take a browse of who you are speaking too, and then that is all the eye contact you have to do. If you cast your gaze at about their foreheads, or right above their heads, it will seem as if you are keeping eye contact. You may not be, but it will seem as such and make everyone more intent with you speech.

10. Have fun with it.

Public speaking is hard! But it doesn't have to be painful. Everyone talks it up and stresses over the matter. Instead of stressing, do what you can to prepare and when the day comes, you know you are ready. Enjoy it as you are speaking and everyone else will do the same. The vibe you give off is one the audience will reciprocate. If you stumble on some words or forget to mention something, just keep on moving. You will probably be the only one noticing. After all, you are your worst critic.

Cover Image Credit: http://www.incimages.com/uploaded_files/image/1940x900/ss2201_38367.jpg

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An Open Letter To The Meadville Medical Center And Its ER Staff

When did kindness become a deserved thing in the healthcare field; and only if you're not on drugs?
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Yes, that cover picture is me, coming off a ventilator...at Magee Women's Hospital in Pittsburgh, a two-hour drive from my house, not at Meadville Medical Center.

This is very difficult to write. We live in a small town, and you are the only hospital for over twenty miles. In fact, I live so close to you, that I can see your rooftop from my back garden. I can walk to you in about ten minutes if it’s not overly humid out. The Life Flights pass over my house as they arrive at and leave your facility, and my young daughter and I pray for every one of them.

My daughter had to call an ambulance on May 30th, as I had a sharp and horrible pain overtake me so suddenly, that I thought my neighbor (who I threatened to report for dealing drugs) had shot me through the dining room window at first. There was no blood to be seen, but the pain was so severe, that combined with the cold sweats and dizziness, I was genuinely afraid I was about to die.

I can’t express in words how proud I was of my girl as she explained to the 911 operator what was the matter and where we lived. She was brave and helpful as they took a blood sample, handled what I later learned was a seizure, and kindly got me into the ambulance from my difficult entryway. She called her Auntie and calmly told her to meet me at the ER. And while memories of the horrible experience I had in your ER twenty years ago still haunted me, the care and attention the ambulance drivers showed me encouraged me that I would be okay.

If only.

There were so many people, and I was half delirious with pain and inexplicable symptoms. Thank God my sister in law, Sheri, was there to help me fight for my life. For the sake of our small town and six degrees of separation, I will call them Nurse A, B, C, and D, and Doctor H. Your staff literally, unapologetically bullied me within an inch of my life.

When I arrived, it was apparently Nurse A who triumphantly announced to everyone involved in my care that I was on drugs, case closed. Despite Sheri and I repeatedly telling them that I hadn’t taken any narcotics, and I won’t take anything stronger than Motrin 800, they persisted in asking what I took. At one point I heard Sheri saying, “She does everything naturally, you're wasting time.” No one cared.

When Nurse A informed me that they needed a urine test, I told her to straight cath me, as I couldn’t stand up. It was Nurse A who told Doctor H that I faked two seizures on the way from my house (I am still amazed by her mystical powers that she could surmise this), and insisted again that I was faking everything. With utter disgust Doctor H said, “She can stand, get her up.” At Sheri’s protest, Nurse A reiterated, “If she can move her legs she can stand.” My legs, which were almost involuntarily moving to find relief from the pain in my abdomen, gave out on me when she insisted I put myself on the bedside commode. I passed out again and urinated on her.

When I woke up to Sheri frantically calling my name, I was greeted by an absolutely disgusted Nurse A, who complained that she needed to go change her clothes, and rolled her eyes at my faking another seizure. She informed everyone who came in next that I was faking these symptoms, and four attempts to straight cath me failed. In that moment, I was sure I was going to die.

Everything after that came in blurry and fragmented vignettes, like an awful out of body experience. There were Nurses B through D or more, all repeatedly asking me what drugs I took. Everyone scowled and frowned, passing on the information that I was faking everything. There were four of these nurses when I woke up on the way to a scan, and all but one asking me what drugs I took, and telling me to stop faking as I hysterically screamed that I could not breathe when I lay flat. I was terrified, confused, out of my mind, and unable to breathe when I lay flat, and they reported that “she hyperventilated herself” in the scan lab.

All the while, Sheri valiantly insisted they would find no drugs in the blood work, and that I probably hadn’t been to a family doctor in years. I lay in your ER cubicle and reconciled myself to God, convinced that I was going to die and be labeled a drug addict.

At some point, something shifted, and suddenly I received the blanket I had asked for hours before. Apparently, my temperature had dropped so low, their fancy thermometers couldn’t read anything. I remember a young man trying to find a vein and saying, “Oh my God, I’ve never seen anything like this. I’m not trying again.” My head was elevated, and the panic of not being able to breathe alleviated somewhat.

Suddenly Doctor H was almost kind, and I heard him telling Sheri something about “a mass” and “blood in her abdomen” and how some other hospital was better equipped to help me. She told me she okay-ed it, and I recall telling her, “I trust you. Just get me out of here.”

In fact, knowing someone else would care for me gave me such peace, that I literally lay completely still as an older man inserted an IV line into my neck with no anesthesia.

We assume the blood work came back and the scan verified what we desperately tried to tell everyone from the beginning; I wasn’t on or seeking drugs. But there was no apology from Nurse A, her fellow nurses, or Doctor H. I may be corrected, but I spent five or six hours in your ER defending myself to the same people who should have been fighting for my life.

As I lay there, talking to Yeshuale, three people in what looked like tactical suits came alongside my bed. The first was a woman who looked like she was speaking into a walkie talkie. Behind her two men. I thought to myself “Oh, state cops. I guess I’m just going to die in prison.” I was so out of it, confused and weary of being asked what drugs I took, I believed your ER staff had called the police and they had come to take me away. All I could think of was what would become of my young daughter.

Thank God, I was mistaken. The blonde woman wasn’t a police officer, but part of the helicopter team, on the phone with Magee in Pittsburgh so she could begin administering blood to me. Blood. Something your staff considered less important than accusing me of using and seeking some weird drugs. Behind her, a tall, blonde man smiled at me and explained that he was taking me in a helicopter and I would be fine. It was like hearing from an angel, and I remember saying, “Todah, Yeshuale!” repeatedly in my head and in a whisper. “Thank You, Jesus!”

Four blocks away, my daughter and the friend she was staying with waved as we flew over my house.

To my surprise, I woke up two days later, attached to a ventilator, one of my sister friends sitting beside my bed. I learned that I’d had two masses in my uterus, which tore itself open and bled into my abdomen. I’d lost four liters of blood and had a transfusion in the Life Flight. When they took the vent out, (my friend took the picture above) I made a joke about being a tough Jersey girl as I signed to the ICU nurse, but inside I was an emotional wreck. Still, as the days went on, I determined to treat everyone with kindness, and was treated the same way at every turn.

Kindness. The one thing I never received from your staff.

What was so special about me that your staff felt interrogating me about my apparent drug use was more important than helping me? My address? Because for some reason all the drug dealers in town seem to want to take over my block? So, we’re all on drugs, then? Do you realize that half my neighbors brag about going to your ER to get pain pills, and how easy it is? I never asked for anything but a Tylenol, and that was on the Life Flight. So, again I ask, what made me so unique?

And, I must say, it’s not even that your staff didn’t believe me. They were mean, hateful even. Rolling their eyes, talking about me like I wasn’t there, saying everything I did was a ruse to get drugs. When did it become okay to treat anyone like that? How was it alright for your nurse to walk in and determine that I was on drugs? How was it alright for her to set the tone of disbelief, unkindness, and abuse? How was it alright for the doctor to allow this and roll with it?

Yes, I said abuse. When someone is screaming that they can’t breathe and you tell them to stop faking, that is abuse. When you berate someone, and accuse them of something to the point where they believe they’re being taken to jail to die, that’s abuse. When you refuse to give someone a blanket, hold them down to the point where they’re bruised, that’s abuse. When you waste time to the point where an ambulance won’t get to the next hospital fast enough… that’s abuse. Your staff verbally, emotionally, and physically abused me.

Not only were they abusive, but they were comfortable with it. Your staff was comfortable with it, and didn’t care what it would cost me or my family. All but one nurse, who Sheri now tells me insisted that there was something wrong with me and took me for the scan. That nurse saved my life. People are comfortable with abuse because they get away with it. Abusers get smug, arrogant and even careless, because those they abuse say nothing. Your staff was smug, rude and uncaring to the point that they displayed a sick sort of disgust for me that was completely obvious. My sister in law later confirmed to me that it wasn’t all in my head.

At what point did this behavior become acceptable? Is it because you’re the only hospital for a 30-minute drive?

And, so what if I had been seeking drugs or high on some unknown concoction? Would that have made it okay for your staff to treat me thusly? Would Nurse A have been justified in declaring my altered state and treating me like garbage? Would Doctor H have been justified in how he treated me? When did nursing and healing give anyone that sort of power? When did people cease to be worthy of kindness, quality health care and gentleness based upon their drug use, or the address they live at?

When did you decide who deserves to be treated with dignity and respect and who does not? When did your medical staff earn that right to decide also?

If we’re completely honest, most of the people I know who abuse pills go to your ER at least once bimonthly to get refills. Your ER physicians pass out opioid scripts like candy and then mistreat the people they’re supplying? Thanks to you, I must hide the pain medication I loathe to take now, because someone will surely break in to my home and steal them if they know I have them. You, and other hospitals like you, are feeding addicts and creating innocent bystander victims like me, but that’s another conversation.

This is difficult to write, because you have your hooks in all over this town. This is difficult to write, because the trauma of that night is still fresh in my mind, and I often cry when I think about it. This is difficult to write, because the reality that I have had to now teach my child to ask any ambulance we ever need to call again to take us to Erie shouldn’t be necessary. This is difficult to write, but it needs to be said, especially since I’ve been finding out that I’m not the only person this has happened to.

You need to address these issues. You need to stop handing out scripts like promotional coupons, and perhaps you won’t have nurses and doctors assuming everyone’s on drugs or seeking them. You need to discourage the abusive and toxic behavior of your staff, and hold them accountable when patients complain. Let me put this into perspective for you: I’m pretty sure Nurse A is the same age as my oldest daughter, and my child would eat mud before she treated anyone like that. Why? Because my kids were never allowed to behave that way in the first place, but to stay on topic, she grew up with consequences, and as an adult still recognizes their severity.

As the events of that night become clearer to me, and I continue my peaceful, miraculous recovery at home, I am determined not to hold on to bitterness about what happened to me at your ER. I am determined to make the most of the second chance at life I’ve been given, and leave your abusive staff in the past. I’ll probably pass some of them in the super market, or sit behind them in church, our town is so small. And while you and your toxic staff will cease to haunt my future, I will surely haunt yours. Nurse A, Doctor H, and Nurses B through whatever… will never forget the night the woman with the blue hair nearly died because they were too busy wrongly judging to actually care.

I am determined to walk out the rest of my life in kindness, the very discussion I had in a blackout with God while your nurse accused me of faking a seizure. I will pray, hoping with all hope that kindness will once again be requisite for employment in your ER and every area of your corporation. Believe me, it’s possible and good for profits. The entire time I spent in Pittsburgh at Magee I never encountered a single unkind staff member from the surgeons to the housekeepers.

I know you can do it.

Cover Image Credit: Heidi Owens

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Teaching Is An Amazing Career, It's More Powerful Than We Give It Credit For

Teaching is a career that is heavily overlooked — it is much more powerful than people realize.

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When it comes to teaching, it's not always easy or fun. But, let me ask you this: what career really is easy or fun all the time? Being challenged can beneficial. Otherwise, you are just going through the same routine over and over. Teaching will definitely keep you on your toes because there's always something happening.

People seem to think teachers just lecture on information that they hope their students remember for the test. You know what? Those people are dead wrong. Teaching is more than that. Teaching means having the passion and drive to educate children. Teaching is turning something dull to something that students will find more interesting and enjoyable.

Teaching is also about providing tools and other resources for students in order for them to succeed, especially the ones who tend to struggle in school. Being able to give those tools to help them accomplish their goals is extremely rewarding. A teacher will work with a student who is behind on his/her reading skills to have him/her be right at the level he/she needs to be by the end of the school year. Not many jobs provide a reward quite like guiding a student, if not more, to success.

Although it focuses on academics, teaching is not just about that. Sure, being an effective teacher is key, but there are other aspects that are just as significant. As a teacher, you also have to connect with your students. Knowing your students on a personal level is so important. The connection can build respect that will, in turn, help them to succeed. Plus, students spend more time with you on a day-to-day basis than they do with their parents — isn't that frightening? So, you have to be able to support them and let them know them that you are there for them if they are having trouble.

Additionally, that connection you build with your students can last a lifetime. You can witness the growth of a student right in front of you. In fact, I am still very close with some of my teachers from elementary school. Many of them inspired me to become a teacher. Because of those great bonds I built, I had the opportunity to intern with some of my past teachers, which was a rewarding experience for everyone. Being able to develop such a connection with someone so different in age is something that is so powerful and that doesn't come with many other careers.

Teaching is so amazing. There are so many layers and beautiful aspects to it. Again, it can be difficult, but it's also a lot of fun. Not many people can say they have fun and laugh every day at work. I also truly believe that not many other people can say their careers provide as rewarding of a feeling as teaching does. To be able to make such a difference in someone's life is an incredible thing. Teaching is my passion. I know teaching will not be only gratifying but something that will bring me pure joy.

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