Teaching Myself Public Speaking
At Intrinsic Lifestyle Productions, I share examples of self-directed learners, including myself. In this post, I’ll explain how my interest in documentary filmmaking led me to an unexpected arena of public speaking.
After I completed my film, “Steve Shirley Shark Tagger,” I began entering it into film festivals. Quickly it became apparent that at most festivals, it was standard practice for a Q&A with the filmmaker after the screening. I figured I’d better study up on public speaking. Here are a few resources which I found helpful:
- Seven Steps to Fearless Speaking, by Lilyan Wilder
- Phone AP: “Stop, Breathe & Think” helped me get into a more relaxed state-of-mind before going on stage
- Deep-breathing and visualization beforehand helped the most
My first public speaking opportunity was at the San Francisco International Ocean Film Festival in 2015. In a packed Cowell Theatre with notorious scientists in the audience, Steve Shirley and I got up on stage after my eleven minute film screened. Steve spoke the most, as the audience had technical questions about his shark study. I threw in a joke and felt connection through laughter. It was actually fun!
Participating in a live Google Hangout was a strange way of public speaking. I was in my home at my desktop chatting with other filmmakers and a host on-line. Who knows who was watching it on the internet. I couldn’t see my audience. Still I was slightly nervous. In preparation, I practiced responses to the questions I’d been given in advance on my iPhone recorder. I was asked to keep my answers short and sweet and I did that too well. In retrospect, I wish I would have elaborated more like the other participants.
Basically, with each experience at public speaking, I have become more familiar with how I’m going feel beforehand and how to deal with those feelings. Remaining at ease in front of an audience is of the essence.
I got through it by taking matters into my own hands. That’s the beauty of self-directed learning.
I’ve embedded the Online Ocean Symposium below. Because it was a live streaming, the quality of the footage isn’t great.
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