Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 11 of 11

Thread: Public Speaking/Presentations

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Carlsbad, CA
    Posts
    81

    Public Speaking/Presentations

    In my internship, I had the opportunity to do a few presentations before a Design Review Board and one before the Planning Commission which was pretty straight foward with pretty much nobody in the audience. It has been a while since my last public presentation and i just got a new position where I will be doing more public presentations to the Design Review Board and City Council. Does anyone have any advice on public speaking/presentations? I was thinking about joining a Toastmasters club. I'd appreciate any advice.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Dec 2006
    Location
    midwest
    Posts
    2,802
    Quote Originally posted by AugieDog View post
    In my internship, I had the opportunity to do a few presentations before a Design Review Board and one before the Planning Commission which was pretty straight foward with pretty much nobody in the audience. It has been a while since my last public presentation and i just got a new position where I will be doing more public presentations to the Design Review Board and City Council. Does anyone have any advice on public speaking/presentations? I was thinking about joining a Toastmasters club. I'd appreciate any advice.
    Elaine Cogan's book Successful Public Meetings through the APA press. Practice, more than anything else, will help you to develop your own speaking style, and no one will be perfect. It is an on-going process and there are always meetings that will throw curve balls. One retired planner noted that presentations before transportation engineers were usually the most dry and dull, and people could easily fall asleep. I would add presenting before finance committee meetings as important but otherwise boring.

    I competed for 6 years in speech and debate in high school and college, with a focus on limited preparation speaking (extemporarenous and impromptu) and won several awards at the local and state levels. I also did 3 years of short-form comedy improv in college (ala "whose line is it anyway").

    I think this has made me a much more effective planner-as-presenter. I can control my "um's", talk about topics that I know little about (extemporaneous and impromptu) but with enough confidence to convince the audience otherwise. My experience in public presentations has led to a bi-montly lunch to stenghten the presentation skills of other staff members.

    Bottom line, practice, practice, practice. I still have a lot to learn, and sometimes my presentations are too structured and lack spontaneaiety, but again, each planner has their own speaking style.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 1998
    Location
    NOLA
    Posts
    4,468
    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    I competed for 6 years in speech and debate in high school and college, with a focus on limited preparation speaking (extemporarenous and impromptu) and won several awards at the local and state levels. I also did 3 years of short-form comedy improv in college (ala "whose line is it anyway").

    I think this has made me a much more effective planner-as-presenter. I can control my "um's", talk about topics that I know little about (extemporaneous and impromptu) but with enough confidence to convince the audience otherwise.
    Same with me. I competed in speech and debate in high school and I firmly believe that it's helped me tremendously in public speaking. One thing that I always keep in mind when in front of an audience is that I'm the expert. 9 times out of 10, you're going to be talking to people who don't know as much about planning or the topic at hand as you do. I'm not advocating that you take a know-it-all stance, but that you be confident in what you're presenting. Take your time......pace yourself so that you can control the "um's," "and's," and other little speech nuances that can effectively kill a presentation. I'm much better at speaking extemporaneously than with a prepared speech. It puts me on a more personable level with the audience, thus keeping their interest and maintaining my confidence.
    "A witty woman is a treasure, a witty beauty is a power!"

  4. #4
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Down by Dun Ringill
    Posts
    6,037
    Blog entries
    6
    I was in Toastmasters and it did help me as far as public meetings. Not so much with presentations as improving my ability to think on my feet better. Plus it can be fun, too.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Plus Salmissra's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    4,091
    Quote Originally posted by otterpop View post
    I was in Toastmasters and it did help me as far as public meetings. Not so much with presentations as improving my ability to think on my feet better. Plus it can be fun, too.
    I am a firm supporter of Toastmasters as a great way to work on basic presentation skills. You have to understand, though, you only get as much out as you put in. Toastmasters requires a time committment to really get the benefit, so if you've got the time, I suggest you give it a whirl. Toastmasters will also help you think on your feet faster, and in an organized manner (less panic).

    One tip about public speaking: talk slower than you would in casual conversation. This gives to the chance to pronounce your words correctly, cuts down on umms/ahhs, and gives you the ability to plan ahead.
    "We do not need any other Tutankhamun's tomb with all its treasures. We need context. We need understanding. We need knowledge of historical events to tie them together. We don't know much. Of course we know a lot, but it is context that's missing, not treasures." - Werner Herzog, in Archaeology, March/April 2011

  6. #6
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2005
    Location
    in a meeting
    Posts
    8,602
    I had never heard of Toastmasters until I came to Cyburbia - sounds pretty neat

    For me, I think it's practice-practice and experience that will make you a good presenter

    I use the old-fashioned method of a basic outline on the back of an envelope in my suit coat pocket but I never regret the use of PowerPoint to help me contain my thoughts more formally to make sure I get everything out that I wanted to say

    The challenge, I think, is extemporaneous speech - when you are asked to explain somehting, defend something point out somehting, confront somehting on the spot - that's when the "know your stuff" advice works the best and again, experience helps with that

    every once in a while, I make myself watch a DVD of a meeting I was at, since we televise and keep a dvd copy of our meetings now - it's a good lesson to see how speech patterns, body movements (too much or too little) affect how well you do on-the-spot.

    the other method of seeing how well you speak in public is if you ever get a transcript form a meeting you were at - the planning board was recently appealed here and the appellant submitted transcripts of meetings - I was shocked to read the ums and you knows that trickled in from me and that many times I start sentences and don't finish them - so it was a good lesson for me to see myself as I truly sound so I can work on it

  7. #7
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Slightly Off-Center
    Posts
    8,259
    I've never participated in Toastmasters although I've know a number of people who did. They all seemed to enjoy the experience but I never heard any of them speak publicly outside that forum. Maybe it was just a good social experience for them.

    As for myself, I dreaded ever having to speak in public (put off taking a required speech class in college until my senior year) but knew that it was an inevitable part of almost every profession. Consequently, I purposely put myself in situations where I would have to speak before both small and large groups. Don't limit yourself to work presentations, it's much easier to hone those skills when it's only ego and not your income that is threatened.

    Preparation is the key for overcoming most of those fears. Presenting plans in public hearings will prepare you for all sorts of adversity. Eventually, you'll get to the point where you know when to answer and when to say that you don't know the answer. After some years of doing it, I realized that I actually enjoy getting up and speaking ad hoc (some might say ad nauseam) to large groups. Kind of an adrenalin rush to performing in front of a crowd.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian cch's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Machesney Park, IL
    Posts
    1,437
    Just imagine everyone in the audience is naked .

    Seriously, I've been told by my co-workers that I am one of the best public speaker in the office, so I often get nominated to head up presentations and meetings, even though I've always been on the shy and quiet side. In college, after a presentation for a proposal writing class, the prof. went on and on about how blown away he was because he always thought I was a shrinking violet. The best advise I have is to be confident, cause it is so easy to detect when a presenter is not confident, and it makes the audience so much less interested in what you're talking about. And most of all, reherse to yourself over and over again, and try not to be too figity. Just holding on to something, like a pen or lazer pointer, really seems to help keep me focused.

    Good luck.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Slightly Off-Center
    Posts
    8,259
    Quote Originally posted by cch View post
    Just imagine everyone in the audience is naked
    I have trouble making eye contact doing that.

    Just holding on to something, like a pen or lazer pointer, really seems to help keep me focused.
    Careful with the laser (don't point at the audience) or mouse pointer. It's really distracting if you gesture while talking but having something to steady your hands can be helpful. That does remind me of the VP of my old company when he got his first laser pointer. He couldn't seem to get it to work and asked us what the problem was. We could hardly stop laughing long enough to tell him that he had it pointed at himself instead of the presentation.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian DrumLineKid's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2007
    Location
    The Castle Aaaargh
    Posts
    149

    Just do it....

    I always made my staff just do it. The first time sounded rough to me, but I am not sure the audience knew better. By the third or fourth time it seemed a heck of alot easier.

    Tips: Use a script when possible, but don't read from it. Know your material every which way but loose (wasn't that a Clint Eastwood movie?). Choose your first attempts when other staff, like your director, are around for support. Remember, you know more than 95% of the meeting audience, even at the early stages.

    Have fun doing it. So you mess up.....laugh.

    DLK
    "There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present and invoke the security of a comfortable past which, in fact, never existed." RFK

  11. #11
    Cyburbian vagaplanner's avatar
    Registered
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Yo momma's house!
    Posts
    296
    Quote Originally posted by AugieDog View post
    In my internship, I had the opportunity to do a few presentations before a Design Review Board and one before the Planning Commission which was pretty straight foward with pretty much nobody in the audience. It has been a while since my last public presentation and i just got a new position where I will be doing more public presentations to the Design Review Board and City Council. Does anyone have any advice on public speaking/presentations? I was thinking about joining a Toastmasters club. I'd appreciate any advice.

    The best way to do well in giving a presentation/public speaking is to know your subject. Knowledge is power and if you know your subject well, you will be more relaxed and at ease. My biggest hang-up is trying to figure out what the Planning Commission or City Council wants to hear. You will need to figure this out. Each board may be different. Some may want to hear every detail, others may not.

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Replies: 6
    Last post: 15 May 2012, 12:09 PM
  2. Public speaking
    Career Development and Advice
    Replies: 14
    Last post: 14 Oct 2008, 2:19 PM
  3. Public speaking
    Career Development and Advice
    Replies: 30
    Last post: 03 Apr 2006, 12:49 PM
  4. Public Speaking
    Friday Afternoon Club
    Replies: 45
    Last post: 25 Jul 2005, 12:43 PM
  5. 2006 APA presentations
    Make No Small Plans
    Replies: 4
    Last post: 15 Jun 2005, 1:12 PM