Rada - Talking in public


Rada's Sheelagh McNamara gave out her top tips on how to speak confidently in public and in business. As women, we are outnumbered on boardroom. Her top tips on how to be seen to be confident, and credible was a valuable talk and something I'll definitely be putting in to practice, here is what I learnt. 

When presented with a situation where we have to present, some of us can feel stressed, and when we're stressed we do 3 things, 

We contract 
We get tunnel vision
and we hold our breath. 

These are automatic responses, the fight of flight response. We risk not being liked when we present, we risk having our person judged when we're presenting or centre of attention in a meeting. 

Before taking the stage, or your part in the meeting, whilst sitting, keep breathing, regulate your breathing, keep breathing as you take your space on the stage. Importantly, walk up on an exhale, take a pause and then address the room. Allowing yourself a pause gives you a chance to assess the room. 

Stand right. 
Hip width apart, with pressure on your right big toe, your then slightly leaning in to the audience, inviting them in.

Sitting down?
For powerful seating, sit on the front 3 thirds of the chair, with your feet on the floor. With your feet on the floor, and seated properly, your diaphragm opens up and your able to breath easily and communicate better. Or if your legs are long (you lucky thing) you can sit with your bum and back against the chair (BBC)

Smile. Don't forget to smile (appropriately) 

Eye Contact
No naked audience members here, hover like a bumble bee! Hover with people, look around the room, make eye contact, connect with those you are presenting to. Don't look over the room, eye contact makes your audience feel important, don't select one person in the room, you'll exclude the rest of the audience, use your peripheral vision!

Choose whether you are a cat, or a dog on stage. Cats are those with the levelling gestures, palm down gestures, dogs are the ones with the floppy hand gestures, adding structure to your gestures makes you appear more knowledgeable and audience can feel confident in you. 

Recommended by Sheelagh was the performance poem, Take Up Space, by Vanessa Kisuule, you can watch it here, reminding you, that you are indispensable, take up space! 

I've also taken away a cork, to use to practice diction and projection. Sheelagh advised that we read a loud a piece of text with the cork in your mouth (about 45 seconds) and then repeat without the cork, and again re-cork for around 2mins a day to build confience, and to open your mouth so all the words get out, no bumbling and mumbling will get you far in boardroom!

You can find more on their short courses here. I would recommend taking a look if you want to improve on your presenting skills and to boost your confidence. I wish I had this talk when I was at university, I used to be sick for days pre and post presentations!

They currently run the following courses:
If you want to enquire about their short courses, click here

Do you suffer with stage fright? What are your coping mechanisms? These talks could be a worthwhile investment in the long run, rather than wasting away a student loan, or hard earned cash on [enter your own vice here] to make yourself feel better / calm down! 


Image credit: Stylist live for Sheelagh's image and their logo, I was unable to talk pics during the talk! 

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  1. I just stumbled across this blog having recently started working at RADA in Business! You speak really well about the training and I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I've been doing some of the courses myself and find them much more valuable than I could have imagined.
    Also was reading about La Roche Posay - my favourite at the moment, but interesting to hear a real person talking honestly about other brands - thank you.