TV Presenting and Public Speaking: learning to ‘say a few words’ with confidence

By Frank Bolger - Last update

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Speaking in public isn’t easy, and we all know it. TV presenters make it look easy of course, as if it were the most natural thing in the world. They deliver their lines and follow the director’s orders with such poise and unflappability that we’ve come to expect seamless public performances from all our public figures – newscasters, politicians, sporting heros and film stars. When things go even slightly amiss, our expectations are so thwarted that viral mockery is soon to follow. As in the case of this poor fella, whose mishap has been doing the rounds all day, the whole world over.

The reason that public figures get their public performances correct so often is down to incessant practice, and little else. They were not all born as skilled orators, or preening extroverts. Being able to talk to hundreds, thousands, or even millions of people requires plenty of guts, determination, control and willpower, but really it is a learned habit (a fact acknowledged and turned into Oscar fodder in The King’s Speech).

While a few of us might someday make it in TV or radio or even – God help them – politics, many of the rest of us will experience some occasion when we might be asked to say a few words to a roomful of friends, family or colleagues. It could be at a gallery opening, a book launch, a wedding, or a work presentation. Nobody is entitled to expect the world of you, so there’s no need to expect it of yourself; but it’d be nice to feel satisfied with how things went after the event, to have left a good impression or to have done what you could to do so. Practice is essential, but courage is key.


Frank Bolger

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