Since I evaluated Helena Rhim’s Toastmasters speech, I asked her what she was physically experiencing while she was speaking:
- My body was shaking
- When I paused I could feel my face turning red
- I felt the vein in neck throbbing
- My hands were clammy
Even though she was nervous and experienced all of these symptoms, we the audience, could not tell. She looked great! She presented a smooth and easy-to-follow story. Her speaking was well-paced. She had good eye contact, hand gestures, and vocal variety.
NO “ums” or “ahs.” And NO notes.
I chatted with her at the end of the meeting and asked her about her writing and rehearsal process. “All-in-all I probably rehearsed my speech 30 times,” she said.
When she mentioned all of the physical symptoms she experienced, I said, “Yes! That’s awesome.” She mustered through, and now has one speech under her belt. That’s the courage it takes to grow!
Helena was impressive with her purposeful use of pauses instead of the normal filler-words like “ums” or “ahs.” I could see her actively being mindful by forcing a pause before her next line – and it looked natural. This is an advanced technique that she told me she’s been working hard on for the past few weeks. “I practiced not saying “ums” and “ahs” when I was out and about during my daily routine,” she said. “I forced myself to be mindful of it and practiced stopping myself from saying “ums” when interacting with people during the day.”
Items for improvement:
- Present speech in front of the podium/lectern
- Break up the standing-still pose by taking one or two purposeful steps to the left and right