– Mark E. Smith

Even for the experienced presenter, giving a deputation to a City Hall committee gets you flustered. Why?

  • You’ve only got five minutes. Most people do not practise to make sure they stay within the time limit.
  • Most people aren’t good public speakers. They wing it and go off topic, or they slavishly read from notes.
  • You feel like this is your big chance, but in the back of your mind you fear you’re going to be ignored.
  • City councillors are not looking at you while you’re talking. They may be half-listening, but you pick up on the fact you aren’t making eye contact.
  • You’re seated at an inquisition-style desk. You have a tendency to lean; bad posture leads to bad diction. And what do you do with your hands? Oddly, sitting gives you one less outlet for tension, which you could at least channel into keeping yourself upright were you standing at a microphone or podium.

The foregoing is, at least, my explanation for why I am a natural on a real stage or on TV but a breathy amateur in five-minute deputations. I’m trying to stop being embarrassed about it, since it happens to everybody.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2008.02.01 15:22. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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