May 23, 2008

A simple formula

One of my clients has distilled down a lot of public speaking advice into a simple formula that works for him, especially when making television appearances. He calls it "The 4 S's."

Still: Stay still and calm, don't shuffle or fidget.

Smile: Keep a pleasant expression on your face.

Slow: Speak slowly and clearly.

This is sort of "code" for vocal variation. Try not to speak in a monotone.

These tools that he draws on before appearing on TV help him remain calm and confident, so he can focus on his message.

Do you have a "formula" that works for you?

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4 comments. Please add yours! :

Bill Reichart said...

I would agree with them. A helpful and simple formula. But with the "still" part, I would caution about becoming "stilted" when speaking. Make sure when using gestures that they are "wide" gestures, don't fall victim to T-Rex arms (when a person anchors their elbows off of their side.). Of course when not using gestures, keep arms at side and avoid nervous fidgeting.

Lisa Braithwaite said...

You're right, Bill. This is something I will be working on with my client. I viewed a video of his most recent TV appearance, and he looked pretty stiff compared to the other guests. You don't want to be scratching your head and playing with your tie, but you also don't want to be just a floating head in that little box.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't the difference depend on the way you were being looked at by the camera.

Close ups would be great for animated facial expressions. Upper body shots would better be served with gestures.

The few times I have been on camera I could see the view of the camera from a off stage TV facing the set. I also talk to the cameraman which they appreciate.

But how would someone just getting started know if they should gesture a little, a lot, or not?

Lisa Braithwaite said...

That's a good question, Jonathan. It never hurts to communicate with the camera people and the interviewer beforehand to get an idea of what kind of shot to expect and, in general, what's expected of you. But, as always, if you're being yourself and not worrying about looking "a certain way," you're going to be more natural and comfortable on camera.

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