Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Not speaking inspired women to get vote

It's Equality Day, the 89th anniversary of U.S. women gaining the right to vote, and worth recalling that the campaign for women's voting rights in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was spurred on by an incident in which two women were kept off the program. From my earlier post:
The 1840 World Anti-Slavery Convention in London "refused to let the women delegates speak," inspiring delegates Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton to start a movement for women's rights...
The incident is recalled in journalist Gail Collins' wonderful social history,America's Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates, and Heroines. Getting the vote allows for a different form of speaking up; unfortunately, women in many professions still have trouble getting speaking opportunities at professional conferences.

Related posts: History of keeping women off the program

All our tips on getting women on the program as speakers

survival tips for watching yourself on video

Olivia Mitchell of the very good Speaking About Presenting blog offers these tips for surviving watching yourself on video--because it's one of the best ways to learn about yourself as a speaker or presenter. You don't want to aim for the polished performance of the news anchor pictured here! No matter how cringe-worthy you think your results will be, Mitchell offers help with distancing yourself and -- most important -- taking a benevolent view of your efforts. (Our contest winner Stephanie Benoit will find these tips of use shortly, as she begins posting video here for her 15 weeks of coaching.)
My tip: If you're nervous before an audience, this is the perfect way to test yourself without them, although many people find the red "recording" light just as intimidating. And the more you practice this, the more you'll relax and see the value in the results. Experienced broadcasters focus on that red light as if it were their best friend, instead of running from it. Why not you? Try making a short video and see how you do!

who said to picture your audience naked?

Bloggers who write about public speaking have been casting around to answer this question, posed by Scott Berkun of the Speaker Confessions blog for a book he's writing. And here, from blog Joyful Public Speaking, comes the answer:
In Dorothy Sarnoff’s book, Speech can change your life, on page 199 it says that: “Winston Churchill overcame his early fear of audiences by imagining that each of them was sitting there naked"....A similar quote (with two additional celebrities) also appears in Dorothy Leeds' book PowerSpeak, on page 33: “Winston Churchill liked to imagine that each member of the audience was naked. Franklin Roosevelt pretended that the members all had holes in their socks. Carol Burnett thinks of them sitting on the commode.”
The real question on my mind: Should you try this storied tactic today? I'm thinking not. It suggests--even creates--a real divide between you and the audience and runs the risk of distraction for you, always fatal for a speaker. But it's great to have the story attributed.

Related posts: Noted speaker coach Dorothy Sarnoff dies at 94