Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Zen of Public Speaking

I just read a short and sweet book called A Zen monk had sweaty palms: Pointers on the path to better public speaking, that in haiku-like one-page nuggets convincingly tells us how to speak like a river; to control the audience’s eyes; to help our listeners see anew.   It's both fun and informative.

You can flip through A Zen Monk and land on a “pointer” that will help you hone your best skills, or pause to read how to improve a real weakness.  For example, a perennial weakness for most of us is stage fright.  Zen says that stage fright arises from fixating on a possible problem during a presentation, not on the goal.  A tennis player focuses on the ball not the net; a golfer does not focus on the sand trap.  We should focus on the outcome we want or the process we’re using to get to it.  

Each speaking point (there are over 50) is amplified and enlivened with an anecdote or a Shakespearean quote, a Bob Dylan song or an event about a celebrity. 

The author is Sims Wyeth, a consultant for international business who practices the “art and science of high stakes presentations.”   For a pleasantly different book on public speaking visit