Public Speaking: Speaking Under Pressure

Speaking under pressure, or thinking on your feet, is based on being able to quickly organize your thoughts and ideas, and then being able to convey them meaningfully to your audience to modify their attitudes or behaviour. It applies to formal speeches as well as everyday business situations. This two-day course is aimed at teaching participants some new techniques which will give them the persuasive edge when they are making a presentation, fielding difficult questions, or presenting complex information.

Specific learning objectives include:

  • Quick and easy preparation methods – whether you have one minute or one week to prepare.
  • What you can do to prepare for questions before you know what those questions will be.
  • How you can overcome the nerves that you may have when speaking in front of a group, particularly if the group is not sympathetic to what you have to say.
  • Presentation techniques that establish your credibility and get people on your side.

Introduction and Course Overview
The instructor will spend the first part of the day getting to know the participants and discussing what will take place during the workshop. Students will also have an opportunity to identify their personal learning objectives.

Getting Started
To begin, we will explore what Speaking Under Pressure is. Participants will also learn an easy way to structure any presentation.

Planning
This session will offer participants seven easy ways to prepare for a presentation – even if you don’t know the time, date, or topic.

Force Field Analysis
Next, participants will learn about a structured method of looking at two opposing forces acting on a situation.

Understanding Your Audience
During this session, we will explore a three-phase needs approach. Participants will also practice creating an audience profile.

Controlling Your Jitters
This session will focus on how to make the most of stage fright.

Making Your Listener Hear You
During this session, participants will explore what turns listeners on and off in a large group discussion. We will also take a brief look at non-verbal communication.

Key Themes
To wrap up the first day, participants will learn what a key theme is and how to create one and distill it into a key sentence. Participants will also be given a small homework assignment.

Key Sentences
To begin the second day, we’ll wrap up our discussion on key themes and participants will share their homework assignment.

A Plan to Structure Ideas
This session will focus on a three part plan (Aim, Concentrate, and Adapt) that participants can use to structure the body of their presentation.

Organization Methods
Next, participants will learn some different ways to organize the information in the body of their message.

Our Body Language
During this session, participants will take a close look at positive and negative body messages.

If You Could Be…
To prepare for the major presentation later on in the workshop, participants will be asked to give a short presentation on this question: “If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one ability or quality, what would it be?”

Beginnings and Endings
This session will give participants some ways to create strong beginnings and endings.

Expanding a Basic Plan
So far, this workshop has focused on small presentations. This session will give participants some tips on fleshing out those small presentations should they be required to present something longer than just a few minutes.

Presentations
To conclude the workshop, participants will prepare and present a short five minute speech. Participants will also evaluate each other.

Workshop Wrap-Up
At the end of the day, students will have an opportunity to ask questions and fill out an action plan.

Shalane BowleyPublic Speaking: Speaking Under Pressure