TALK-POWER: How to Speak without Fear by Natalie H. Rogers

TALK-POWER: How to Speak without Fear

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This is probably the best public speaking guide around for the truly terrified amateur--though those with only slightly sweaty palms may find it too systematic and prescriptive. Natalie Rogers is a behavioral psychotherapist (Cornell Medical College) and former actress who combines the techniques of behavioral modification and acting with those of ""speech crafting"" to provide students with a firm foundation in self-control. She emphasizes that it is neither possible nor desirable to eliminate the tension of nervousness; you can, however, exert enough control over your body's responses to make yourself appear cool and self-confident. This she accomplishes by means of a series of awareness exercises: deliberate pauses, balancing your body on both feet, running through a mental checklist of physical responses, concentrating on your fingertips to draw attention away from your fears, etc. Much attention is paid to the writing and organizing of the speech itself. Rogers recommends beginning (when not inappropriate) with a joke or anecdote; defining the topic in one brief sentence; stating your thesis (just as briefly); and indicating how you became interested in the topic (which establishes a personal connection between speaker and audience). She does not advise direct eye contact with specific members of the audience; she does favor keeping at least the main points on 5 x 8 index cards, presumably to help jog the memory, as you move your head (slowly) from left to right to scan the audience. Also discussed are related matters like using visual aids and handling questions (even hostile ones) from the floor; appended is a ""Panic Clinic"" for the truly phobic aspirant (the victim of fainting, hyperventilation, etc.). A godsend altogether for those tied up in knots; the more self-controlled should see L. Perry Wilbur's Stand Up, Speak Up, or Shut Up (1981).

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1982
Publisher: Dodd, Mead