By the book
I just finished the article "Speaking volumes" (March). I want to encourage Presentations to include an article like that in each issue. Many of us will never make presentations that have as much at stake as the three architectural firms that were competing for the $122.5 million Minneapolis Library project. For us to be able to learn from other's mistakes is priceless. What a great article!
Dana Bristol-Smith Oceanside, Calif.
More ways to soothe the savage beast
Regarding your cover story, "Taming the beast within" (March), here's another tip for controlling speaking anxiety. When speakers are nervous, they tend to rush their words and not breathe, which only exacerbates the situation. I have great success with my clients when I suggest that they speak to their audiences as though English was the audience's second language. Instantly, the speaker slows down, breathes, pauses, feels more in control of his or her thoughts and generally becomes more natural and conversational.
Anne Miller New York City
In my professional opinion, the most effective way to combat nervousness in presentations is through effective design. On one hand, many people tend to overly structure their presentations. They're designed with too many words and long sentences, which make them difficult to memorize, thus creating anxiousness in the presenter.
On the other hand, others tend to not structure at all. Many people lean toward trusting their ability to "wing it." They say, "I know what I'm talking about, I'll just tell them." This approach can be uncomfortable also, especially when you aren't quite sure what point comes next in front of a live audience.
The secret to presentation design? A balance of some structure and some winging it.
If you are confident that your main points will be easy to remember through appropriate, concise structure, and that you can speak naturally and confidently off those points and engage in good personal contact with the audience, I guarantee you'll be less nervous.
John A. Dames Think on Your Feet America Inc. Minneapolis
I really like Presentations and Presentations.com, but now professionals are being subjected to ancient mysticism/ New Age manure in the form of feng shui for presentation rooms (Random Access, March)? Just because some people are seeking out feng shui (as the writer states) doesn't mean it's worthy of an operation of your caliber. Meanwhile, I guess presenters should also consider whether the force is with them…
Scott Stein Dallas