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First Meetup of Boulder Public Speaking

From: John A. De G.
Sent on: Friday, November 7, 2008 9:00 AM

Hi everyone,

So far we have no "Yes" RSVPs for the group's first meetup (other than my own), so I'm considering bumping the date a few weeks from now, after more people have had a chance to join the group.

I should say something about my vision for the group.

I'm very much inspired by "open space" conferences, whose philosophy can be summarized as follows:

1) Whoever comes is the right people.
2) Whatever happens is the only thing that could have.
3) When it is over, it is over.

In other words, bring your ideas, your creativity, and your desire to improve your public speaking skills, and everything else will sort itself out.

Now that said, I will have default activities lined up, which fall into several categories:

1) Planned speeches. These are speeches you have rehearsed and want to present before the group. I'd like to keep these on the shorter side, and we'll time you to make sure you can complete in your planned time (this is an important skill for speakers to have).

2) Unplanned speeches. These are impromptu speeches given on a random topic with about 30 seconds advance warning, and will last for 2 - 3 minutes. Topics will fall into three difficulty levels: easy (topics about your life), medium (topics about your views), and hard (topics about the world).

3) Activities. For example, one activity could be to create an outline for a random speech topic in 30 seconds. Another activity could be to create a good opening for a random speech topic. The purpose of activities is to improve low-level skills in public speaking.

4) Games. Some games build skills that transfer to public speaking. For example, acting games, word games, miming games, and so forth. Games should be fun but also practically relevant.

These are just the default activities, of course. Should anyone want to do something unconventional, bring your idea, and if someone is interested, we'll do it!

I do plan to encourage feedback on speeches -- that's how we learn. Ultimately it would be nice to tape speeches so each person can see their speech from the outside. I do not plan for any rating or award system. We aren't competing with each other for best speaker -- we're collaborating with each other to make ourselves better than *we* were before.

If there's interest, however, I would like to encourage speaking at local area competitions. Speaking in front of large audiences under pressure could be valuable experience.

There will be no fee for attending the meetup, and no one will be badgered into doing anything. Do as little or as much as you like. It's the open conference way.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reply to this message.

The Boulder Public Speaking Meetup

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