Reviewed by Christopher Miller Passwordgear
I have just been teaching two of my children some memory techniques for them to learn speeches for their school public speaking. As we walked round the house, turning it into a memory palace, they entirely forgot to be nervous about speaking, and they both did really well when they got to school.
But for so many people, speaking with confidence seems impossible; and that's why Judy Apps' latest book: Butterflies and Sweaty Palms is so relevant and useful. Judy has a brand of coaching that I like to think of as “gentle judo for the soul”. Let me explain that.
Judy says that fear is very similar to excitement, and it can actually be converted to excitement-¦ which brings enormous benefits to the presenter. When you are enthusiastic about something, the audience tends to follow you. So here Judy is able to use the momentum of something negative, and use it to positive effect. Just like judo. But her approach is very gentle.
She also draws heavily on Eckhart Tolle's suggestion that you remain in the present. This means that you should ignore worries about what could go wrong in the future, or memories of what went wrong in the past. Just be yourself, as you are. Now.
For anyone who hasn't heard of Eckhart, he is a best-selling spiritualist author, having written The Power of Now and A New Earth, between them selling over 8 million copies. He has captivated many millions more in live webinars, and regularly addresses thousands of people at live events. He is a phenomenon. Quietly spoken and calm, he is the last person on earth you would expect to get nervous.
Judy's John Cleese anecdote really amused me. Cleese is one of those unmistakeable people that when he does something you can't imagine it ever being different. That Dead Parrot sketch, amongst many others is set in the collective concrete of our minds. But Judy has first-hand experience of how playful and innovative he can be, never producing the same performance twice.
Butterflies and Sweaty Palms has many resources to help banish the presentation stresses, but the truth is that you might only need one or two of them to be able to speak and present with the same poise and confidence whether you are talking with a few old friends or with 1,000 new friends. Read the book to find the techniques that suit you best.