Speech Class 101 – Scary Shit

It’s been years since I took COM 101 – Public Speaking at UW-Rock County, but I can still remember just how crazy nervous I was speaking in front of the class.  The butterflies, nausea, dizziness, weak in the knees, and that’s all before class even started.  Standing at the front, the professor off to my left, recording the speech, all ears and eyes on me, I can remember being so nervous my voice would quiver and I’d almost be in tears.  Okay, I probably actually shed a tear or two.  I’d be so focused on my voice and how horrible I thought it sounded–the vernacular, not the speech content–that I’d would start to forget the speech itself.

While I’m the type of person who talks way too much, too loud, and laughs even louder, I’m still absolutely petrified of speaking in front of a crowd with all eyes and ears on me.  Taking a public speaking course in college is definitely a great way to START preparing oneself for giving talks in a public forum, but it’s definitely not enough.  I’m in awe of those who give talks, and I really enjoy transcribing a wide variety of them.  It seems like it comes so naturally to those speakers.  But does it?  And are there other ways to be better prepared for public speaking?  YES!!
Recently while transcribing the talks from Camp Digital 2017 in Manchester, many speakers talked about #UpFront.  It was definitely a concept I hadn’t heard of before.  Lauren Currie spoke about it during her talk, and it is a wonderful concept that can easily be implemented in many, if not all, conferences.
The stage layout at Camp Digital included a comfy couch where individuals sat during talks.  While they were still up front with the entire audience facing them, they were able to experience being on stage without the added pressure of having to give a presentation.
“This is something that any keynote speaker at any conference anywhere in the world can do. But you must tell me first because there are brand guidelines. But anyone – anyone can do this. It’s zero percent anxiety, 100% spotlight.” – Lauren Currie
More information can be found on their website, weareupfront.com.  She explains that “Upfront Sheroes is a confidence network that I run with a few other amazing women. We also work with businesses, so businesses ask us to come into their workplace and help get everybody and their team talking confidently about their product, their service, their journey, why they’re there, and what their work does. It’s something that we don’t talk enough about.” – Lauren Currie
Projects like Up Front are amazing, and I’m very excited to see more Up Front conferences and other similar efforts to promote confidence in public speaking.  Kudos to Camp Digital and Sigma for supporting such a project.
Lauren says it best as, “We need to all speak up, even when your voice shakes, even when it’s really, really scary. We need to get comfortable on stage. We need to get comfortable at including ourselves, so comfortable that we start to enjoy it.”
To watch her entire talk at Camp Digital, Why It’s Time to Share Our Power, go to the Sigma website link here: http://www.wearesigma.com/campdigital/2017/lauren-currie/
If ever the opportunity arises for you to be an Up Front supporter or participant, I’d highly recommend it!  And if you’d like to share any of your Up Front experiences or thoughts about this wonderful concept, please share those in the comments.
If you are a hosting a conference and are considering or are already planning on having your conference talks transcribed, please contact me via email for more information.  Also, if you are a conference talk speaker and having those talks transcribes interests you, please be sure to reach out to your conference manager/host about this wonderful addition.  Transcripts are a wonderful way to be more inclusive to a wider audience.
Thank you,
Tina Pham, Owner/Operator

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