Minooka library to host seminar on public speaking
By Denise Baran-Unland Correspondent February 15, 2013 3:06PM
If you go …
What: “How to Make a Presentation Without Passing Out.”
When: 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Three Rivers Public Library District, Minooka Branch, 109 N. Wabena, Minooka
Etc: Registration is required by noon Monday
Contact: Sarah Robertson at 815-467-6200.
Updated: March 18, 2013 6:09AM
You’re asked to speak a few words to your book club about your current read and you’re so fraught with nerves, you lose an entire night’s sleep over it.
By the time the dreaded presentation takes place, you’re shaking from head to toe, so you talk as fast as you can to quickly end it.
Far too many people agonize over speaking to a crowd, but it’s actually quite simple and tons of fun once you know a few tricks. At 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Three Rivers Public Library District, Minooka Branch, speaker Jerilyn Willin of JWillin Consulting in Bloomingdale, will give a one-hour workshop: “How to Make a Presentation Without Passing Out.”
“People get nervous because they think they’re going to get judged in some way,” Willin said. “But unless you’re giving a presentation about downsizing their company, you’re there because they want to hear what you have to say. They want you to be good. They’re on your side, initially, and if you are halfway decent, they’re going to stay there.”
Willin, who has seven years of experience giving presentations and a background in leadership development training, said she’s enjoyed talking to audiences ever since she was 6 years old and orating to her family.
“I get really excited when I see people’s light bulbs going off in the audience,” Willin said, “and when people come up to me at the end and say, ‘Wow, I never thought of that. I’m going to try it.’”
The first steps in giving a successful presentation happen before your audience enters the room. During the preparation period, take a tip from athletes and visualize your success, Willin said. You’ll be more like to guarantee it.
Next, arrive to your location early, so you can walk about the room and feel at home there. Then when people do arrive, you’ll appear like the host of the event. You can greet them, learn some names and even direct them to the bathroom and a place to hang their coats.
“If you get to meet some of them personally, they’re no longer strangers to you,” Willin said. “You can start your talk by looking at one of them.”
During Willin’s presentation, she’ll discuss how, with a wave of your hand, you can communicate confidence or anxiety to your audience. She’ll offer insight on the perfect beverage to pack, tips to engage your audience, dealing with hecklers, when to pause, managing lightheadedness, and why hand-outs are a good option.
Nevertheless, Willin said, you can’t plan for every situation, but if you keep a sense of humor and think fast on your feet, you can turn a potential disaster into an opportunity to connect with your audience, as Willin once did.
During one engagement, fearing she might accidentally step off a six inch podium once she launched into her presentation, Willin deftly side-stepped that situation by standing in front of it.
That worked just fine, until she turned around to grab her handouts, forgetting that podium was behind her.
“I tripped and landed on my knees,” Willin said. She then explained to her audience why she had chosen to stand on the ground. However, Willin added, most blunders are not that obvious.
“Unless you tell them you made a mistake, your audience will think you planned it.”