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Article written by Boris Bozic on the 08 May 2012 in Business

boris-bozic-public speakingIt can be the most unnerving, and for some terrifying, experience.   There are those who make it look so easy but I suspect their secret to success is the ability to suppress the fear and anxiety of public speaking.  There are plenty of courses for those who want to become better at public speaking but no course is as valuable as practical experience.  Presenting in front of a large audience teaches many lessons, and the lessons are usually painful.

 There’s nothing more humbling than walking off the stage and saying to yourself, “well, that sucked”.  I’ve done enough public speaking over the last few years to honestly judge my own performance.  Really, that’s what public speaking is.  Either you’re “on” or you’re not.  There have been times when I’ve been in a middle of a presentation and I know it’s working.  The words seem to flow, the pace of speech is just right and the audience is engaged.  I measure audience engagement by Blackberry use.  Then there are other times when I know I’m not connecting with the audience, and god forbid if I have another forty minutes to fill.  That has to be one of the loneliest feelings in the world.  There’s no teammate on stage that can cover for you.  It’s just you and the audience wishing they were somewhere else.

Every time I go on stage to do a presentation I’m nervous.  Not to any paralyzing degree but enough to get the feeling in the pit of my stomach, accompanied by sweaty palms.  It doesn’t matter how many times I do it that feeling is there.  It was no different last week when I spoke to a group of realtors in Oakville.  For context, a great supporter of Merix, Mark Mighton, asked me to speak at event he was sponsoring.  It was the Oakville Real Estate Association continuing education session, with some 250 realtors in attendance. The presentation was being held in a movie theatre.  It was an interesting day to say the least.  My morning started by doing the opening remarks at the CAAMP Symposium in Laval, Quebec.  Off to the airport from Laval to catch a flight to Toronto so that I can make it on time for the presentation in Oakville.  Of course the plane was delayed by an hour which means I would be cutting it real close.  I’m providing ETA updates to the organizers of the event, and I know I was causing them some angst.  As luck would have it I arrived with 10 minutes to spare.  No time to decompress or really gather my thoughts, its show time.  So I’m introduced by the host of the event, and I say “Thank you and good afternoon ladies gentlemen’”.   Just then I noticed a woman, right in the middle of the theatre, dead to the world.  I mean she is out cold, head tilted to the side, mouth wide open, she’s in a deep sleep.  It’s funny what goes through your mind in about second.  My first instinct was to laugh, and then I started to rationalize.  “Christ, it can’t be me…I’ve been on for only 3  1/2 seconds”.

For 45 minutes I tried to avoid looking at the woman in a coma.  That’ not an easy thing to do because I know she’s there and I’m wondering if she’s really going to sleep through entire presentation.  She dipublic-speaking-standing-ovationd.  In fairness to the slumbering woman, when the audience clapped at the end of my presentation it startled her awake.  She rose to her feet and joined the others in clapping.  I made eye contact with her and mouthed, thank you.  What a thrill for me.  I received a standing ovation from one person in the audience who didn’t hear a single word I said.

 Until next time,






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Angela Kroemer, AMP @Twitter ID Website Reply

Public Speaking is very scary. I am amazed at anyone who can get up if front of any audience and speak like they are talking to a crowd of friends.

You nailed it when you said Practice, because that is the only thing that will get you up there and sounding good. It is refreshing to see, that even you Boris has had your fun times up on stage because a lot of people think that public speaking is a natural born gift, but it isn’t – the gift to gab may be. To put together a well thought out speech that will have your audience interested and listening to you is work. Then you have to present that speech, in an audible fashion. That is more work and time commitment.

To anyone just starting out and wanting practice, I suggest the Toastmasters club. They meet once a week and you quickly learn public speaking and get to practice every week. Time well spent to learning the art of public speaking.

marvis olson @Twitter ID Website Reply

Public speaking is a perishable skill for me———I did lots of meetings & presentations in my previous lives & felt I was informative & entertaining— but find now that I’m out of practice—-right before I’m about to go on——my throat closes up—I can’t seem to take deep breaths——my language is still there & i know what I’m trying to say———but the steel band around my chest keeps them trapped-:)
I know that practice would cure it———–even doing Monday morning meetings at a real estate office keeps the skills up—–
You’re a great speaker Boris—-funny—a voracious reader with lots of material— a good user of props (like the You Tube videos)—when do we get the pleasure of you in Calgary again??

Barb Morgan @Twitter ID Website Reply

Boris you are one of my absolute favourite speakers!! always knowledgeable, captivating and timely. If there are shaky nerves-it never shows!

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