Powertalking for Women

a workshop for women

According to research one of the biggest fears that women have is talking in public. No wonder- we have been conditioned for thousands of years to be reserved, modest and not "show off."
However women often have just those qualities that can fascinate an audience- warmth, communication talent and an instinctive relationship to their surroundings.


In this workshop Jenny Simanowitz in her lively and humorous way, teaches women, how to enjoy showing off!
With the help of exercises and games, some based on theatre improvisation, we learn to present ourselves with self-confidence and charm- in giving lectures, leading a discussion or putting our point across at a (male-dominated?) meeting.


The workshop takes place in German and is aimed at all women who have to or want to speak in public.

Article: The Art of Public Speaking

A good piece of public speaking is like a good piece of art- its success often appears enigmatic!


Think of a wonderful piece of music that you once heard played by an outstanding pianist.


What made him outstanding? Was it the technique? Was it the way he touched the keys? Was it the light and shade in his playing? Was it that something called "feeling" or "inspiration"?


It was all these things, and that's why you could relax, draw a deep breath and enjoy it!


A successful speaker "works" with the very same tools as any artist- content and form.


Like in any art work, "feeling" or "inspiration" is the very basis of a presentation.


This is what is transported through our voice, through our face, through the words which we use to communicate our thoughts, and through our body language (gestures and mimic)


If we are not inspired, then our audiences will certainly not be!


The double-edged sword of technology threatens to try to take the place of this inspiration.


The result- thousands of bored people trooping exhausted back to their homes after a day at a conference, armed with sheaves of paper( the print-outs of   power-point presentations) having taken in very little of what has been said during the day.


I am in no way against the use of power-point.


Power-point ( to return to the image of the wonderful pianist) is like having a perfectly tuned grand piano at your disposal...


It is the "technological background" which can help the speaker rise to great heights.


But just as nobody would suggest that just because a pianist plays on a good piano he can automatically inspire the audience, it is only the beginning.


And in exactly the same way, a good power- point presentation is only the background to a presentation and is no substitute for interesting content or for a delivery that can fascinate.


For that's what we are trying to do- to fascinate our audience.


Over the past few years research into how we absorb knowledge has discovered something that we probably always instinctively knew:


We can only absorb knowledge if we are in some way "emotionally involved"


This does not mean that we have to be bursting into tears or shouting with joy during a lecture. On the contrary, too much emotional involvement blocks learning.


But if the speech only appeals to us rationally, and doesn't "turn us on" emotionally, then we tend to shut off and think about something else- which is why audiences at most conferences have a continually glazed expression on their faces!


We touch people emotionally with our words, with our voice and with our body language.


And all these elements are important.


Even if we are giving a so-called "factual" presentation, which most presentations are going to be, we cannot afford to ignore any of these elements if we want our information to be satisfactorily communicated.


It doesn't matter how "factual" the presentation is, the audience will only listen if they are fascinated. In fact, the more "technical" the material, the more the speaker needs to use elements such as the voice ( pause, emphasis, varied intonation etc) to make the material more digestible for the audience. 


The question "Can anyone learn to be a fascinating speaker?" can certainly be answered with "yes".


As in the case of all art forms, some people are certainly more "naturals" than others.


Talent in public speaking can be inherited, or some people have been brought up in an environment where they have heard a lot of good speakers. Or they had the good luck (and this really is one of the best things that can happen to a schoolchild!) to have had a teacher who encouraged them to perform and speak in public.


But people who have not had these chances can also learn to make speeches that don't send their audiences to sleep and which adequately and even entertainingly impart the information they wish to impart.


And to learn this is a very exciting journey, which often involves intense personal development.


For many years I have been helping people to prepare for speeches in public. Many of the people I meet are, at the beginning, anxious and "blocked".


Others are, quite simply, boring, labouring under the misunderstanding that "the beamer will say it al!"


What I find personally rewarding in this work is that the more people learn about how to use the elements of public speaking the more confident they become. It is as if, by becoming a "public person" their "inner selves" also blossom.


The human being sets itself apart from animals in that s/he thinks and expresses these thoughts through language. And that s/he can consciously vary and improve her/his methods of communication in order to reach out and influence fellow human beings.


In this sense, learning to become a fascinating public speaker is a part of becoming human!


* The specific content of each seminar is worked out according to the needs of the participants.