Product reviews for Butterflies and Sweaty Palms

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Butterflies and Sweaty Palms: 25 Sure-Fire Ways to Speak and Present with Confidence is dedicated -˜To all who have felt fearful before speaking'. So that's probably most of us, then.

You will have guessed that the aim of the book is to help people overcome their fear of speaking in public, and to do this it takes a reassuringly methodical approach. Part I, which accounts for a little under one-quarter of the book examines the problem: the fear. Part II suggests 25 confidence strategies to help you overcome the fear.

The first section is important because it will channel you into the right frame of mind before you start working on the strategies. It puts your fear into context and helps you to realise that there is no shame in having -˜butterflies and sweaty palms'; it's perfectly normal, and even the greatest actors experience it. You just need to deal with it in the right way (well there's more to it than that, of course, but that's the essence).

So we move on to Part II, where the 25 strategies are divided into five separate themes: Use Your Imagination, Be Present, Come Alive, Let's Look at the Audience, and Be Yourself. The strategies suggest a variety of exercises for you to practise; some of the exercises are directly related to the public speaking scenario and can involve a certain amount of role play -” preparing your speech, mustering the courage to walk up to the podium, engaging with your audience and so on -” whilst others are more general exercises that you can practise at any time, such as breathing exercises and inward reflection.

The page lay-out goes to some effort to hold your attention. You don't have to turn over many pages before you come to the next cheery line-drawing or diagram illustrating the topic that you're reading about. There are numerous paragraph headings to signpost where you've been and where you're going next. There are case studies. And there are armfuls of quotations, so many of them that I must confess I started to find them a tad intrusive, but that's just a personal view; to be fair, they are aptly chosen and I did come across at least one of my favourites, which by coincidence I was painfully reminded of very recently whilst working in Spain: “If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in bed with a mosquito” (Betty Reese).

To get back to the point and sum up: if you're struggling with your fear of public speaking, and you need someone to hold your hand and give you reassurance, advice and encouragement, Judy Apps' book was written for you.

The author is a professional voice coach and trainer based in the UK's Home Counties, and runs workshops aimed at improving participants' communication skills and self-confidence.
Guest | 13/08/2012 01:00
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