To Move or Not To Move.
By Candy Ikokwu
The evening was attended by Broadgate members, guests and Toastmasters old and new who all contributed to a lively session.
I kicked things off with a brief opening on the subject of the day, Body Language. ‘To speak’ is defined variously as ‘….to convey information” or “to express a thought or feeling”. This is only one of the ways to convey information amongst many. However when we discuss the idea of public speaking, most of the time our minds tend to veer towards this one aspect. Research has proved that about 80 to 90 % of communication is non-verbal, this includes body language.
The opening was followed by a fun warm up to the YMCA dance. Why the YMCA? Well, as fellow Toastmasters will know it was the building of the very first meeting in the USA by pioneer Ralph C Smedley, in 1924.
Next up was an interesting spin on table topics, which included a mix of storytelling and mime/body language,one person to tell the story and another to construct the mime. We had some great performances! Thank you to Linda the Table Topics Master for the evening.
Our guests were very warmly welcomed, as is the usual form in Broadgate, by Andrea.
Following these Toastmasters favourites, the Special Workshop began with Ram Maree, presenting his own creative take on how to use the body to inspire.
Here is a brief summary of some tips he gave us:
� Ram suggested that there are techniques for each body language, the more we repeat them, the more we absorb them as part of our public speaking. This might seem forced at first and not very authentic. There was a practical demonstration when participants were asked to stand up and move around the room taking just a minute to make eye contact with each person. This made for some unique and hilarious results however the point was made.
� Each person can focus on the area which most concerns them and begin to perform repeated gestures that will greatly improve the body language. For example it could be hand gestures and practicing holding out your arms for a minute, or practicing open and closed body language. The more you practice these specific movements, the more natural it becomes.
After some lovely refreshments, we kicked off the second half:
� Ram’s focus was on the holistic approach. According to him the mind wants to control the speech and he stated that ‘Authentic communication will result when you express how you feel… and not try to control’.
� How does one let go of control? Members of the group identified that one of the biggest issues with letting go is self-consciousness or fear of being judged.
� Ram pointed out that being aware of the connection between your thinking and the energy you exude will help with letting go of control. The more thinking i.e. over-thinking you do during your speech, the less energy you give out.
� Some practical techniques he suggested for letting go was to encourage the group to practice speaking‘gibberish,‘ to someone else for a minute. This will enable the speaker to rely more on body language to communicate.
� Finally, we have all heard the phrase practice makes perfect and indeed it does. Ram closed off the session by emphasising that the way to start breaking down the body language barriers is to practice the technique until you become confident.
Please note that the information given out in this workshop was based on Ram’s own ideas on the topic. For material that is provided by Toastmasters, please visit http://www.toastmasters.org and some useful examples “Your body speaks” and “Better speakers”.
Ram Maree is a member of 1st London Toastmasters. To contact Ram, please get in touch with 1st London Toastmasters.
Dates to keep in your diary:
16th August: Fundamentals of public speaking run by Area 58
16th August: Speak out in Hyde Park Corner, organised by Excalibur Speakers Club.
9th Sept: Broadgate Humorous Speech Contest.
Thank you to all those who attended and gave feedback!
see you all soon!