Speaking in public

PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 October, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 05 October, 2009, 12:00am

Everyone has their own tics and mannerisms when they give speeches. They do them unconsciously, which makes them very difficult to correct - we don't know we are making them. Usually they happen when we are nervous, uncomfortable or shy.

We might wrinkle our eyes frequently, gaze up at the ceiling or, perhaps, rub our hands together nervously. Are you aware of what you do when you are giving a speech?

Of course, your tic or mannerism might be different from any of the three I have mentioned. This is because we all have unique ways of expressing nervousness.

One thing I find interesting is that my friends tell me I usually say 'um ...' a lot when I'm giving a speech. The thing is, I don't even notice that I'm doing it.

Perhaps you have had a similar experience. It is strange to learn that you have been doing something and had no idea that you were doing it.

Ho Hei-man, STFA Tam Pak Yu College

From the Editor

Thank you for your letter, Hei-man. Many people have annoying habits when they speak in public. They might be doing it when they speak normally but no one notices. It is only when all attention is focused on them and the words they say, these little habits become magnified. Many people say 'um' when they talk, so it is nothing to be ashamed about.

One of the best ways to improve your public speaking is to ask your audience for critical feedback. They will soon tell you if you are doing something wrong.

Susan, Editor