Speak up against plastic (tips for giving a good talk)
The Pennine Health and Well Being Festival invited my sister and me to do a talk about the environmental and health issues with single-use, petroleum-based plastic. We happily accepted, as we want to share what we’ve learnt about plastic. Our talk fitted in well at the festival because we were talking about the issues plastic has on the environment and on our health. It was our first ever talk about our campaign so we were very excited.
First of all we spoke about how a bottle is made, next the transportation, then the consumption and what happens to the bottles we put in the recycling bin and finally the issues it has on our health. We finished off our talk with what we are doing and things you can do. At the end we were asked questions like “At work they say the bottle tops we hand in get recycled, is this possible?” and “How can my daughter follow you?”.
On the whole, our talk, about plastic, went down well with the audience and we look forward to presenting our talk again at Yestival.
A lot of people fear public speaking but we quite enjoy it now and have decided to help others by giving some of our tips, here are a few:
Writing and learning
When you are writing a talk it is key to know your audience. If you are going to an outdoor festival and you talk about technology, then people will not want to listen to your talk. Also, balancing the humour in your talk with the facts is important, especially if you are doing a factual talk. Not learning the talk completely makes your talk sound more natural and easy to listen to. Dropping in extra, unrehearsed jokes is even funnier than practised ones.
Before the talk
Often people get nervous before doing a talk, but it is important to stay relaxed and look confident. Clenching your buttocks helps you before a talk; it sends the blood from your legs to your body and head, helping you to concentrate and not feel faint. Taking deep breaths helps and thinking about your breathing can take your mind off any nerves.
When some people do a talk they can speak quite quickly because of nerves and this can make their talk hard to follow. Often when you speak, you are actually talking faster than you think and deliberately slowing down and relaxing can give you time to think also give the audience time to soak in what you have just said. Speaking is often about body language so even if you are feeling nervous try and put on a confident show.
After the talk
It is likely that people will have lots of questions about your talk so don’t rush off. Save 15 minutes or so for questions. When you are answering questions, there is no harm in leaving a while to think through your answer. This will help you give a better quality answer (and show that you are thinking it through).
When you are asked to do a talk of your own, keep these tips in mind and good luck!