News And Articles | Diane Radford

By: Voice And Performance  06-Dec-2011
Keywords: Public Speaking, Circus, Performance Workshop

Five tips to help you prepare for public speaking or presentation

What Everybody Ought to Know About How to Become Good at Public Speaking or Presenting

When was the last time you wanted to ‘run for cover’ when you were asked to present at work, or speak at a special occasion?

Have you experienced extreme nervousness, shortness of breath, a constricted voice, rigid body language or mind blanks when speaking or presenting?  These are some of the experiences described by my clients. 

It may not surprise you to know that public speaking is considered to be the second most feared thing in life, besides death.

Rest assured, there is specialist coaching available that will help you overcome your fears, and give you techniques to become a confident and effective speaker.  At the heart of these techniques is preparation.

Fear is merely a feeling the result of your brain letting you know there is something you have not prepared.

To perform at your best, preparation is necessary. Public speakers and presenters are performers. No performer (whether a dancer, actor or musician) goes on stage without preparation in the form of rehearsals.

So what preparation is involved for a public speaker/presenter?

Firstly, you need to prepare your speech or presentation content, basically:

  • Decide on the topic and specific purpose relevant to your audience—are you going to entertain, persuade or inform your audience?
  • Research and gather supporting materials.
  • Organise your speech—an attention grabbing introduction, develop your main points, and end with an interesting conclusion that reinforces the central idea.

Preparation time of the content depends upon the length and importance of the speaking engagement, and how much you already know on the subject. If you are knowledgeable, then you can trust your unconscious mind to produce what you need, and a quick mind map of an appropriate structure will probably suffice. However, if you needgreater insight on the subject and wish to present effectively, time is the essence.

Secondly, you need to prepare yourself so you can be an engaging and effective speaker.

These 5 tips will help you prepare for your speaking engagement. The time you need to spend on each point depends upon your skills and abilities, and the demands of the occasion.

5 tips to help you prepare for public speaking or presentation

1. Warm-up your body to help release negative tensions and maintain energy levels throughout the speaking engagement
2. Warm-up your voice to access your range, energy and vocal stamina to assist with an engaging delivery thatkeeps the audience awake!
3. Exercise your speech organs for speech clarity so your audience hears every word.
4. Practice the art of effective speaking with the use of appropriate body language so your audience is convinced by your message.
5. Psychologically prepare so you are confident and resourceful.

Your voice and performance techniques need to support and enhance the delivery of your speech content, otherwise your message will be lost.

What you say = how you perform it!

Voice and Performance training in these 5 techniques can help you become a confident and engaging speaker, so that presenting and speaking can become a fun activity for you, and enjoyable and informative for your audience!


Young Student achievers

Past and present students have achieved in the areas of public speaking and leadership:

Maria English won the World School’s Debating Championship in Athens early in 2009, the world championship for the Cambridge AS Level English Literature.  She was the Head Girl at Samuel Marsden Collegiate in 2009 and is now studying at Cambridge University in England.  Please see Maria’s testimonial.

Rayhan Langdana won the NZ Human Rights Commission – Race Unity Speech Award 2009.  Rayhan spoke at the Human Rights awards evening at Te Papa on Monday 24 August 2009 and received a standing ovation!  Rayhan has been elected as the Head Boy at Wellington College for 2011. 

Simone Blaylock has been elected as the Head Girl at Samuel Marsden Collegiate for 2011. 

Present students who have achieved in the performing arts:

Bethany Miller received the 2010 Antoinette Award for the Best Female Actor in a Leading Role for her performance in the Diary of Anne Frank, Repertory Theatre.    

Georgia Rippin was seen as the Narrator in the television series “Time Trackers” released in 2009.


Diane and Film Producer, Nina Densley, are still working on a documentary about creative workshopping in Wellington for Triangle (Stratos) Television. A group of nine adults who are not actors nor performers completed a nine week (18 hour) group devised performance workshop and the documentary is about the group’s creative journey together, and the discoveries they made along the way. Watch this space and Triangle Television for more information on their series on workshopping in Wellinton.


Diane has performed with the Women’s Circus Aotearoa. 

The Women’s Circus Aotearoa’s show The Triumphant Return – Suitcase Circus IV in which Diane performed with six other women received the following Fringe review.

We were invited to shout ‘fantastico!!!’ at particularly wonderful and exciting moments in the circus performance, and the delighted Sunday after audience enjoyed the poignant, funny and gasp-making circus acts, all woven intriguingly together by the circus-mistresses’ story-telling. There was never a dull moment, and I heard two women in the ‘ladies’ afterwards saying ‘wasn’t that great’ and ‘yes i’ve seen them for several years and there are often different performers but they are always great’ which sums it up really. FANTASTICO!!!

Keywords: Circus, Performance Workshop, Public Speaking