Dale Carnegie Course: Week 5

This is part of a series on the Dale Carnegie Public Speaking Course.

Week 5 was crazy antics week. I’m a bit hesitant to give much detail for fear of ruining it for others, but it’s the kind of thing you really need to experience to understand.

We had two reports to give this week. The first was on something you’d done that involved a lot of action. The second was a time you were really angry, or really happy. The focus was on strength of emotion, on passion, and how passion makes any presentation better.

You have probably been to a talk, lecture or presentation where the speaker was dull and lifeless. They droned. They stood in one place and went on, and on, speaking in a monotone and putting everyone to sleep. You may also have been to a comedy gig where the crazy antics of the person onstage had you rolling around in fits of laughter. You can learn a lot about presenting from watching standup comedy, the good kind, and the bad kind.

The action presentation was something you’d done. I chose the time I went mountain biking on single-track in the dark with some crazy mates. I got up in front of a room full of people and pretended to ride a bike in the dark. Other people jumped, and spun, and fell over, and rolled around on the floor.. in front of a room full of people. Some of them wouldn’t have done that if you’d paid them a mere 5 weeks ago. People surprised themselves.

In the second half, the crazy antics went up a notch. We yelled, and screamed, and stamped, and shook our fists with rage. We were passionate. We were inspired. We were amazing. I finished week 5 more energised than I’d been in a long time. I had trouble getting to sleep, and I was still on a high the next day. Week 5 was great fun.

Giving a great, entertaining talk needs action and energy. It needs more energy than just a casual conversation with your mates. You need to move about. You need to change volume, speed, tone of voice. You need to act. It takes practice, but anyone can do it. You also need to be brave enough to try it the first time. It is nowhere near as bad as you might think, and once it’s over, you’ll wonder why you were so worried about it. Better yet, the next time it’s even easier to break out of your rut, your comfort zone, and to give it another go.

Try it. You’ll surprise yourself.

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