NUGGET 008 by Mazi Eze (ME)
HOW CAN I CONQUER NERVOUSNESS IN PUBLIC SPEAKING?
-extracted from my new book, Public Speaking Nuggets
*Mazi Eze is introduced* *walks to the dais* *takes the mike* *begins to speak*
Today I’d like to talk to you about how to conquer nervousness in public speaking. I know I said I will talk about WIIFM mentality. I will, in the next two paragraphs. Or better still, get a copy of my piping hot new book. Hehehehe.
First, lemme say this. I’m so in love with Dale Carnegie’s assertion. He says, “The ability to conquer nervousness and speak with self-confidence is not difficult to acquire. It is not a gift bestowed by Providence on only a few rarely endowed individuals. Everyone can develop his own latent capacity if he has sufficient desire to do so.” I agree.
Now, let’s tune to WIIFM.
WIIFM simply means What’s In It For Me?
Everybody has the WIIFM mentality. Every audience you’re speaking to has that mentality. Think about it.
When students sit patiently or impatiently and grudgingly before a lecturer, they listen with a WIIFM mentality. If there’s little or nothing in a lecture for them (or so they think), they bring out their cell-phone and post messages and selfies on Facebook, Instagram, and Whasapp. Or they quietly gerrout of the lecture-hall. It happens. I once read on my student’s Facebook wall, “Nna meeeen, this lecture is boring” and another person commented with a question, “Which lecturer be dat?”
NB: The lecturer that was mentioned was not ME o!
Mazi Eze is not, will not, shall not, and in fact cannot be boring. Ask my students: Chisom Nlebedum, Nene Nwosu, Hanamel Kingston Onyx, Steve Ogbuewu, Chidinma Eke, Emerald Nduke, Akuro Amieyeofori, Daniel Clinton, Onyebuchi Timothy, Praiz Onyee, Ogonnah Ejezie, Amarachi Ochomma, to mention but a few. *mek una no fall my hand o!* *lol* *toothy grin*
When members of an audience attend AY Live or Basket Mouth Unplugged or Opa Williams’ A Night of a Thousand Laughs (what happened to this comedy programme?), they assemble with the WIIFM mentality. They want to be entertained; they want a good laugh. That’s what’s in it for them. They want to laugh.
A good comedian/comedienne is someone who cracks jokes that make an audience roll on the floor laughing out loud (ROTFLOL). You know, standup comedy is a type of public speaking. Oh, you didn’t know?
When your audience attends your conference, seminar, workshop, etc, they’re tuned to WIIFM, What’s In It For Me? Therefore, be audience-conscious. Being audience-conscious or being audience-centred is the third strategy in overcoming PSA. It is the third strategy in delivering a speech that wows! Let’s talk about it in NUGGETS 009, okay? Thanks a bunch, buddy!
We already know that the first strategy to conquer nervousness and speak with self-confidence is: prepare your delivery.
The second strategy is: structure your delivery. This means, impose a structure on the speech you’ve prepared. Segment your speech into (a) a topic, heading or headline, (b) an introduction, (c) a torso or body, and (d) a conclusion. Think of your speech as if it were a human being who has a head (introduction) upon which is the hair (topic), and who has a torso (body) and a leg (conclusion)!
This post, NUGGETS 008, contains the ingredients listed above. Look again at the beginning of this post. Can you see the topic? The introduction? Can you see the body from the 2nd paragraph down? And this particular paragraph, ladies and gentlemen, is the conclusion.
In sum, never ever deliver a hairless, headless, torsoless, or a legless speech! Don’t forget, I did say we’ll discuss being audience-conscious or being audience-centred in NUGGETS 009.
Till I come your way again soon, stay tuned to this frequency for another interesting episode.
Your presenter and speech coach is Mazi Eze (ME).
PS: Somebody said I should have a website. And run a blog. How does that operate? Hey, help a brother here!
*smh, chuckling* *drops the mike; leaves the dais* *a standing ovation*
NUGGET 010 by Mazi Eze (ME)
Question: HOW CAN I WOW MY AUDIENCE?
Answer: STAY AUDIENCE-CENTRED!
Question: WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
Audience-centred public speaking refers to the kind of performance where you analyze the expectations and needs of your audience and tailor your speech accordingly.
Your audience has the What’s In It For Me (WIIFM) mentality, remember?
In the public speaking business, the audience is king! Therefore, understand your audience’s WIIFM; then, go ahead, treat the audience like royalty. He wants to know how to make money online; explain it to him. She wants to know how to dress ‘to-match’; explain it to her.
I like the way Gary Genard (google him) states it: “Make your listeners’ needs the essence of your focus, and you’ll be more likely to satisfy those needs.”
In agreement, Fela Durotoye says: “The first thing you have to remember is that speaking is not about [you] the speaker, but about the audience. In essence, it’s not what you say that matters, but what they hear.”
In other words, members of your audience want to hear what will add some value to them intellectually. They’re listening to you to hear what will add some money in their pocket. They want to hear what will make them soar in their spiritual life. They want to hear what will tickle their fancy, make them chuckle, smile, or laugh heartily.
Your audience want to hear something that will add something positive to their personal development. It’s not about you; it’s about your audience!
Research the demographics and psychographics of your audience. Demo-gini? Hehehehehehe. I’ll explain both terms in NUGGET 011.
PS: Hey! I’m about to launch my newly-built school/ academy.
Check it out at: publicspeakingacademy.online
In a previous post of mine, NUGGET 001, I said:
“I aim at building a website, a virtual school where I’ll teach soft skills such as public speaking, emceeing, writing skills, grammar skills, among others. Teaching is my passion. Public speaking is my favourite pastime.
I hope you’ll hang out with ME here on cyberspace. Together, we’ll change our public speaking world, one nugget at a time.”
Now, check out the website at: publicspeakingacademy.online
Shoot ME any comments/ remarks/ criticisms. I’ll reply YOU!
Be inspired; stay inspired!
By the way, this is my first post in 2017. Therefore, permit ME to say:
NUGGET 009 by ME
HOW TO DEFEND YOUR FINAL YEAR PROJECT OR LONG ESSAY
*Dedicated to my Project Students/Supervisees
I did say I’ll, in this episode, talk about audience-consciousness or audience-centredness. Sorry. I’m very sorry to shift it to NUGGETS 010 for a reason. This is the season of final year project defence in some universities. NUGGETS 009 might be of help to some student somewhere. Catch?
Just last week, my undergraduate project students/supervisees underwent a viva voce. What’s a viva voce? I’ll tell you. This nugget is inspired by Lilian Omosigho who asked, “Mazi, how can I face the external examiner and other members of the defence panel?”
Viva voce means a spoken or oral exam. Viva voce is a kind of public speaking. Essentially, it’s that kind of speech which a university student gives to defend a final year project, a thesis or dissertation. It’s also known as a viva or project defence.
The practice is that the student has to sit before a panel comprising an external examiner, the Head of Department, and some departmental lecturers, and answer questions concerning the topic he or she worked on.
This year, in the Department of English Studies, University of Port Harcourt, the external examiner/assessor was Prof Damian Opata, a no-nonsense, thoroughbred scholar from University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
Also in the panel were our own Drs Ikenna Kamalu, Stephen Anurudu, Tambari Dick, Oyeh Otu, Vincent Obobolo, among others. Profs Omolara Ogundipe, Nkem Okoh also put in an appearance. *in Naijaspeak* ME, I also dey there live. *wide toothy smile*
Moments before the panel sat, Lilian Omosigho asked ME, “How can I face the external examiner and other members of the defence panel?”, I smiled, and gave her the simple strategies I’ve been talking about (or I’m going to talk about) in this forum.
1. Prepare your delivery.
2. Rehearse your delivery.
3. Visualize your delivery.
4. Stay audience-conscious. This word again!
5. Deliver or speak with passion.
In your delivery, Keep It Short, Simple, Clear and Straightforward: KISS-CS. Be real; don’t fake a foreign accent. You won’t be able to sustain the fakeness in the next five, ten minutes. You’ll be asked questions that’ll circle around your project topic, your theoretical framework, the scope of your study, your contribution to scholarship/knowledge, etcetera.
Let me illustrate with the following:
Question: What topic did you work on?
Answer: The topic of my research is The Language of Emoticons on Facebook.
It is all about xyz. (talk about the topic briefly)
Question: What’s your theoretical framework?
Answer: The theoretical framework I used is Computer Mediated Discourse which has to do with xyz. (explain what the theory is all about)
Question: What’s your contribution to knowledge?
Answer: To the best of our knowledge, this long essay is a fresh attempt to situate emoticons as a distinct language and vehicle to convey the temperaments, emotions of language-users on Facebook.
Trust me, project or long essay defence is NOT a death sentence. It’s a simple exercise. Walk into the room confidently. Greet the examiner and panel members. Sit yourself down. Breathe in. Breathe out. Get ready. Set. Go!
It’s all over. Congratulations!
Be inspired; stay inspired!
Mazi Eze (ME)
The Ordinary Speech
Apart from the monotonous speech, there’s also the ORDINARY SPEECH.
The ordinary speech is simply what it is: an ordinary sort of speech.
The ordinary speech is the kind of speech that barely keeps an audience awake while it lasts. Just that. Why?
Check your dictionary. Ordinary means not unusual; not different in any way.
Ordinary refers to having no striking or interesting features; not satisfactory. Ordinary is synonymous with second-rate, commonplace, not very good.
I’m repeating the word, ‘ordinary’ for emphasis.
Ordinary public speakers, teachers, preachers, lecturers are run-of-the-mill; they’re just average; they’re mediocre. Who wants to a mediocre?
Joseph Heller was joking when he said *in William Shakespeare’s baritone*: ” Some people are born mediocre, some people achieve mediocrity, and some people have mediocrity thrust upon them.” *I’m SMH, chuckling*
Ordinary public speakers seem to go on and on while the audience manages to stay awake. And at the end of a presentation, one audience member can be heard asking another member of the audience, “Wetin the speaker talk sef?” “What was the topic of the lecture?” That’s how bad an ordinary speech can be.
There’s something better than the ordinary speech. You want to know what it is, yes?
Talk to you later, in Nuggets 005.
-Mazi Eze ME
The Monotonous Speech
Do you remember ever dozing off in high school or secondary school during a lecture? I don’t blame you. The lecture/ lesson could have bored you stiff. Or it could have been a baking hot afternoon. Or both.
I have listened to many monotonous teachers, lecturers and other public speakers. And I’m convinced that a monotonous speech is the kind of speech that puts people to sleep.
You want to live long in the world of public speaking, yes?
Then learn the meaning of these related terms: monotone, monotony, monotonous. Please, put them far away from your public speaking performance.
Monotone refers to a dull speech. It is a boring way of speaking in which your tone remains flat and your volume stays the same while you deliver a speech/ lecture.
Monotony is the most common, original affliction of any public speaker, teacher, lecturer. It robs your speech of power. Refuse to be afflicted! A cursory observation reveals that most teachers suffer from monotony. They seem to drone on and on till the end of a 1-hour or 2-hours’ lecture. Conversely, most preachers do not suffer from monotony; they’re lively and engaging. Are you with ME?
The monotonous speech puts people to sleep.
You want to reign and live long in the world of public speaking? Avoid monotony. Avoid the monotonous speech.
You will live long!
Till I come your way again soon, be inspired; stay inspired!
In the school of public speaking, it is often said that you have to talk for free and then for a fee.
This is especially true for beginners.
I used to emcee occasions for free. But now, I do it for a fee.
I used to teach my neighbourhood children for free. Now, I teach/lecture at the Department of English Studies, University of Port Harcourt for a fee.
Work hard. More importantly, work smart. Be patient. Anything worthwhile takes a while to be worth something.
Work smart. Polish your soft skills. ‘Soft skill is the new hard skill’, according to my good friend, Francis Nwagbara. Public speaking is a soft skill.
Soft skills are those skills which you learn through hands-on, practical experience. They’re such skills which are developed through participating in short courses, conferences, seminars, workshops, etc.
I’ll be dishing out a whole lot of stuff here for free. Yes, free of charge (FOC). I aim at building a website, a virtual school where I’ll teach soft skills such as public speaking, emceeing, writing skills, grammar skills, among others. Teaching is my passion. Public speaking is my favourite pastime.
I hope you’ll hang out with ME here on cyberspace. Together, we’ll change our public speaking world, one nugget at a time.
Talk to you shortly,
Mazi Eze (ME).
(from my new book, Public Speaking Nuggets)
I’m convinced that there are three (3) categories of a public speech:
the monotonous speech,
the ordinary speech,
the effective speech.
Which one will you choose?
What kind of speaker will you wish to be?
As for ME, I choose to be an effective speaker. I choose to be a speech coach. I choose to change my public speaking world, one person at a time, one nugget at a time.
I’m convinced that you’re not wired to be monotonous. You’re not wired to be ordinary. You’re wired to be effective in public speaking! I’ll show you how to be effective as a public speaker: teacher, lecturer, pastor, emcee, stand-up comedian, etcetera.
Stay with ME.
-Mazi Eze (ME)
“Mazi, it’s a lie!”
One of my students exclaimed when he saw my October pay slip. It was lying face up on the table in my office.
I’m a lecturer in a federal university. My salary is a little above N100k. Yes, you heard me. A little above one hundred thousand naira only. This is no prose-fiction.
My students think my salary is up to N500,000. Sorry to disappoint you, dear students. Most professors don’t even earn up to that amount. Uchechukwu Goodnews, can you hear ME?
I know that I crack a lot of jokes. I know I crack jokes a lot. Humour-mongering is my hobby; laughing is my hobby. But this is no joke. Or rather, this is a huge joke. The salary of most professors is not up to N500k. Unbelievable but true. You think I’m joking, abi?
The Nigerian federal university lecturer’s salary is a huge joke, a cruel joke. I’m telling you. If you think I’m lying, I’ll upload my pay slip here. But, I no sabi upload anything on Facebook sef. Hey Hanamel Kingston Onyx, can you help ME to upload something?
My society believes my salary is in the six zeroes category. Hehehehehe! I jus dey laff dem.
The society wherein I live expects me to live in a mansion. People expect me to drive a posh car, maybe a Cadillac Escalade 2016 model or the 2018 model of Lamborghini Huracan Spyder. After all, I’m HEAVILY PAID (ask Daniel Clinton, my public speaking Team Mate). Yeah, I’m paid millions every month! After all, I lecture in a federal university. In Port Harcourt, the oil city, the garden city.
Sorry to disappoint you, members of my society. My one-million-a-month salary is just a figment of your imagination. Reality check: my salary is just a little above one hundred thousand. The lecturer’s salary is a huge joke, a cruel joke indeed.
The last time I checked last month, a bag of rice sold at N25,000. This is December, the Christmas season. The price will climb the palm tree and jump unto the iroko. I had (still have) plans of buying two bags of rice. One for my family. Another for some indigent neighbours where my church, Living Christ Mission, is situated in Oyigbo, Rivers State. Two bags of rice will amount to fifty thousand naira. My salary, sorry!
A bottle of palm oil has increased from N250 to N750 (small Ragolis bottle) and from N600 to N1500 (big Ragolis bottle). Surely, prices of foodstuff will continue to rise. My a-little-above-one-hundred-thousand naira salary will not rise. Why?
My salary is a broken-winged bird that can only chirp but cannot fly. How I wish it could fly and catch up with the astronomical increase in prices of foodstuff! But it cannot. The lecturer’s salary is a huge joke, a cruel joke.
I ran into a House Officer in UPTH recently. The dude greeted ME familiarly. He said I taught him GES 100: Communication Skills in English many years ago. He’s doing his house-manship in UPTH now. After house-manship, comes NYSC.
At the moment, he said, his consolidated salary is N180,000. After deductions of pension fee and others, he takes home between N155,000 and N165,000. You know, I taught him many years ago. Currently, my consolidated salary is N140,000. After deductions of pension fraud and others, I take home a-little-above-one-hundred-thousand naira.
Ovieteme George is my very good friend. He works at African Independent Television (AIT), Bayelsa. Recently, he won the AIT 20th Anniversary Outstanding Staff Award (Yenagoa Station). He has told me once and the repeated time to become a journalist. He wants me to try broadcasting. Stubborn ME, I no gree hear word. How can I leave my dream job of lecturing in a federal university and ‘come and be moving upandan’(apologies to Hymar Idibie David)? Is it because my salary is a little above one hundred thousand? Is it because the lecturer’s salary is a huge joke, a cruel joke? Ovie, take time o! LOL
Once upon a time, Dr. Obari Gomba, current ANA King of Poetry, my friend and colleague at the Department of English Studies, warned me. He told me that a lecturer’s salary can only pick one or two bills, and nothing more. ‘One or two bills, and nothing more’. That sounded poetic. I thought Obari was practicing poetry on me. I didn’t believe him.
That was before I was employed in a federal university. I hope Chisom Nlebedum, my First Class ex-supervisee is listening. Okwudiri Anasiudu, inokwa ya, are you there? Uchechukwu Goodnews, goodluck to you for desiring to be a lecturer! Your generation will be better! SMH
Kasarachi Hayford Inno, my StandingTall friend, my ‘bloda’ from another mother also warned. Kasarachi is a lecturer at the Department of Linguistics and Communication Studies. He’s smart and stubborn. Stubborn to failure; he looked failure in the eye and chose success. Stubborn to death; he stared death in the face and chose life. He presents a weekly Wednesday StandingTall programme on radio at Family Love 97.7 FM Port Harcourt.
Kasarachi Hayford Inno once upon a time told ME, “A lecturer’s take-home pay cannot take him home at the end of the month”. That sounded like radio talk. I didn’t believe him.
Dr. Obari Gomba and StandingTall Kasarachi Hayford Inno are lecturers in a federal university. They warned me. ME, I can be stubborn sometimes sha. I’m a lecturer in a federal university. My salary is a little above N100,000. The salary can only pick one or two bills, and nothing more. This is no poetry. The take-home pay no de gree reach home sef. *wide toothy smile*
My students think my salary is up to N500,000 per month.
My society thinks I’m paid millions month after month.
My salary is a little above N100,000. This is no joke. Or rather, this is a huge joke. It’s a cruel joke.
I’m telling you. The Nigerian federal university lecturer’s salary is a huge joke, a cruel joke.
If you think I’m lying, I’ll invite Onyx to help upload my pay slips.
NUGGET 005: THE EFFECTIVE SPEECH
Avoid the monotonous speech. Skip the ordinary speech. Aim for the effective speech. Hey friend, raise the bar on your speech delivery. Go for the effective speech.
The effective speech is the kind of speech which produces the intended results; it is the speech that produces successful/excellent results. Let me illustrate with a story.
Once upon a sweltering hot afternoon, I honoured an invitation to speak at a secondary school in downtown Oyigbo, Rivers State where I grew up. Also invited was a lawyer. We were to speak to SS3 students.
The lawyer spoke first on ‘Choosing a Career’. His pleasant hook of an introduction was simply wow! But some sixty minutes plus into the presentation, a good number of the students hovered between sleepfulness and wakefulness. Why? The lawyer’s speech plummeted from wow to ordinary; and from ordinary to monotonous.
You know, the monotonous speech sends an audience to sleep. The ordinary speech barely keeps people awake while it lasts. It is the effective speech that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats. ‘On the edge of your seat’ is an idiomatic expression which means ‘very excited and giving your full attention to something’. The effective speech, like a launch pad, propels people into positive actions.
During that session with the SS3 students, when it was my turn, I rolled up my sleeves and pitched into my speech via a story. Yes, I simply told the students a story. A story wrapped around the 6 Ds of Success. Dream. Decision. Determination. Diligence. Discipline. Destination. The story was effective. The excited students gave me their undivided attention.
Now, you’re asking, “How can I deliver an effective speech that wows?” I hear you. I’ll tell you in Nugget 002.
Be inspired. Stay inspired!