Speaking in public in front of a group can be the loneliest of jobs. If the idea of talking to a group is a problem for you, this is where Judy Apps' book finds its place as an essential resource for becoming a presenter of professional quality. Not only does she give you practical advice on what to do and how to do it, but you also get useful -˜troubleshooting guides' -” which cover possible negative responses to the suggestions.
Having covered the essential points about techniques and how to become more confident, Judy Apps concludes the book by addressing the key factor in any presentation: how to -˜be yourself'? Remember this quote from Walt Kelly, author of the Pogo comic strip: “We have met the enemy and he is us,” Many speakers actually get in the way of -˜being themselves'. Sure, you need to have all your knowledge and skills up and running -” but these have to be already deeply assimilated within you. If your -˜techniques' are superficial or unpractised, they'll simply be getting in the way of you giving of your best.
The thing about presenting is that you have no excuses -” you can't blame others for how you are; there's no such thing as a -˜bad audience'. It's a time to be honest with yourself, and the more honest you are the better the audience will like you and what you have to say. Good presenters speak with enthusiasm about what fascinates them. If what you are talking about is boring for you, then it's going to be even more boring for others. Your audience will most likely stop trying to make sense of what you are saying, and drift off, following associations in their own minds.
Judy suggests that you should lighten up, play more, and not take yourself too seriously. You're not going to be -˜perfect'. Don't think of it as -˜making mistakes' but as being creative in the way you handle the unexpected. That's the kind of thing audiences appreciate: seeing you in command of the situation. And when you have assimilated all the tricks of the trade, you'll be more in touch with your own playful self.
If you want to know about play and passion, read between the lines of Judy Apps' book. This book is brimful of enthusiasm, her ideas are well presented, and the illustrations by her talented daughter Rosie are a delight.