Zamke u aktivizmu – ili/ili? 2. deo

Ackbar trap 2 copy,,Ma kažem ti bre, šuma je iza onog drveta!”

Neko od učenika je predložio da bi bilo lepo da se organizuje poseta fakultetu za srednjoškolce, ne bi li stekli malo jasniji utisak šta ih sve čeka na studijama. Usledila je rasprava o tome da li je bolje da se razgovara sa studentima ili profeorima, ili možda posetiti jedno od predavanja, ili… u jednom trenutku smo zaključili da jedno ne isključuje drugo, to jest da bi najbolje rešenje bilo kada bi se organizovalo nekoliko ili čak i sve opcije u isto vreme.

Na trenutak može delovati da smo našli najbolje rešenje, ali u isto vreme smo ispustili možda najbitniju činjenicu – iako smo razmatrali i prihvatili više opcija, sve te opcije smo osmislili na osnovu samo jedne, ograničene početne ideje. Continue reading

Zamke u aktivizmu – ili/ili?

Ackbar trap copyĐuro, ‘oćemo pod A, il’ pod B…?

Jedna ekipa srednjoškolaca sa kojom radim je odlučila da organizuje mnogo lep projekat, ali nisu mogli da se slože oko toga kako to on zapravo treba da izgleda. Evo kratkog opisa, vidite da li možete da smislite najbolje rešenje:

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Nas’niče, koj’ Vam je tviter nik?

,,Nas’niče, vi sve ovo kačite na tviter? Možemo da vidimo?”

Šta sad da radim?? pomislih. Da li je dobro da moji učenici vide ili ne vide moj tviter nalog? Gde vodi jedan scenario, a gde drugi? Zar ga neće između ostalog i sami pronaći? Da li ću morati da prilagodim svoje izražavanje na tviteru i drugde?  Continue reading

The, er, pause is quite, ummm, important

young entrepreneursoh take your time, dear, we can wait

To put it bluntly, one of the most useful, yet least used techniques in public speaking is the pauseYet not only are most people unaware of the concept, oftentimes  they’re even actively avoiding using a pause at all costs. Why?

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Odakle početi, jebote, Đuro?

,,Ma sad je to teško sranje, a u sedmom razredu me je baš usralo sa ocenama!
,,Ma ne seri, nije toliko teška hemija.”

Razgovor je još glasnije odzvanjao zbog činjenice da su ga vodila dva sitna, simpatična i fino obučena, gotovo uglađena momka od nekih 13-14 godina. Sedeli su za stolom pored mene, i povremeno me skenirali krajičkom oka. Pravio sam se vrlo fokusiranim u papire i piće ispred sebe, ali nisam baš uspevao da sakrijem činjenicu da sam ih fascinirano prisluškivao.

Imao sam osećaj da sam dobio posebnu priliku da na par sekundi zavirim u potpuno autentični, tajni svet osnovaca iz kojeg sam se ispisao pre skoro 15 godina. Potpuno me je zatekla neposrednost i ozbiljnost (i, da, nebrojane masne psovke) u govoru tih klinaca dok su pričali o njima bitnim stvarima.

Setio sam se radionica koje u poslednjih pola godine intenzivnije držim osnovcima, pored srednjoškolaca i studenata sa kojima sam već navikao da radim. Sećam se i svog ponosa što sam, činilo mi se, uspeo da nakon određenog vremena ostvarim neposredniju komunikaciju sa njima, čak i poštenu dozu poverenja. Poverovao sam i da ih samim tim vrlo dobro razumem.

Iako nisam bio naivan kako sve mogu da komuniciraju klinci u tim godinama, prateći ovaj razgovor, postalo mi je surovo jasno koliki deo njihovog sveta mi nije bio dostupan. Od to malo utisaka što sam dobijao od osnovaca u okvirima 45-minutnih časova aktivizma jednom nedeljno, pokušavao sam da gradim kompletnu sliku o njima, popunjavajući praznine… čime? Svojim idejama, to jest predrasudama kako (bih ja voleo da) funkcionišu osnovci.

Naravno da nisam očekivao da na časovima budu opušteni kao kada su sami, bez ,,odraslih” (da, da, i mi smo njima kategorija), ali sam ipak, kao što rekoh, živeo u uverenju da sam uspeo da ostvarim komunikaciju koja će mi dati jasan uvid u njihov svet. Sad vidim koliko toga fali.

Ne mislim da je poenta da treba da pričamo tako opušteno sa njima kao kada oni pričaju nasamo jedni sa drugima (mada bi bilo beskrajno zanimljivo probati: ,,Ajmo izvadite sveske. Đuro, jebote, smiri se. Slavice, šta sereš da si zaboravila kod kuće domaći?”). Međutim, ako želimo da vidimo kako oni zaista funkcionišu, o čemu razmišljaju i šta ih sve motiviše, i na osnovu toga prilagodimo svoj pristup njima, onda ne smemo da ispustimo taj deo slike – kako izgleda njihov autentični, svakodnevni razgovor i drugi vidovi interakcije. Preterane psovke su samo deo (ok, svakako glasniji) cele priče. Celokupni ton kojim su ova dva momka pričali je bio suštinski drugačiji i od najopuštenije varijante razgovora u okviru četiri zida tako zastarele učionice. (Pardon, barem su zidovi okrečeni. Doduše, koliko znači okrečiti rešetke zatvora…) On je nama odraslima krajnje nedostupan.

Ne znam kako to izvesti. Da li da unajmimo decu špijune, instaliramo skrivene kamere ili organizujemo posebnu grupu u kojoj bi neki dobro obučen odrasli (,,Zapamti, moraš da opsuješ posle svake druge reči. Ako ne pomeneš ,,sranje” barem tri puta u deset sekundi, provaliće te odmah.”) kroz razgovor prikupljali informacije i utiske o njima? Da li nešto slično već negde rađeno? Kakva su vaša iskustva?

Inspiraciju za prvi post ovog bloga na srpskom su mi dala ta dva momka. Međutim, naterali su me da se suočim sa količinom svog neznanja i sebi postavim neka baš bitna pitanja. Za početak, odakle početi?

The problem with sounding confident on TV

LOTR_Two018EyeOfSauron“And now folks, for our next guest…”

You have an important interview on TV and you’ll be in front of the camera in less than an hour. What’s the first thing that comes to your mind? Hold that thought.  Continue reading

the People vs. the Audience

There is no audience.

No, really. It may seem convenient to call the group of individuals in front of you an “audience”, but they are, first and foremost, people.

I stress this seemingly obvious fact because there’s a tendency to see the audience as anything but human: Continue reading

Hi, my name is…

Hello everyone. My name is Relja Dereta. I’ve got an M.A. in Japanese language and literature. I coach people in presentation skills. I’m also an instructor of Argentine tango.

I also don’t usually speak like HAL 9000, but I had to start my first post like this to prove a point. What you’ve just read is the most typical way each of us introduces ourselves: name, formal education, current occupation. It’s also a glaring symptom of what I consider to be one of the biggest problems in public speaking. Before I define it, first do the following: Read that first paragraph again, aloud, as if you’re talking to a large audience.

What did you notice? Even though there are 5 sentences with full stops at the end, it is very likely that you’ve read them with an even, gently rising intonation, almost like it’s all one long sentence without an end.

That right there is the biggest trap we can all fall into when giving a talk: we start delivering a report to a scary Audience instead of communicating a message to a group of people. It doesn’t matter what the topic is – you could be talking about the most important moment in your life, but that tone would still kill most of the impact. If you’ve been using it longer than 10 seconds, most of the audience has already reached for their cellphones.

So, why do we do this? Simply put, we were never taught how to express ourselves to a group of people, and so we believe this tone is what everyone expects. Indeed, everyone does expect to hear that ever-rising pitch, that one long never-ending (death) sentence, and the moment they hear it, their brain switches to auto-pilot. So, the speaker is pretending to be talking to an audience, the audience is pretending to be listening, both parties are waiting for the whole thing to end and everyone is hoping to God that the entire experience will be unremarkable enough to be swiftly forgotten.

But why is this tone, and everything that goes with it, so harmful?

Try to recall how you talked with your best friend about the first time you fell in love. You probably didn’t sit next to him and say: ”Hey. I’ve called you today to talk to you about something very important that has happened to me. I believe I have fallen in love. The feeling is absolutely amazing. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever felt like this in my entire life.” The only reaction you could expect from your friend in this scenario are nervous twitches as he checks the walls for any nearby flame throwers in case you turn out to be the Thing.

Of course you’re going to talk with emotion, wave your arms around, each movement (or pause) showing how elated you feel. In fact, even when you’re talking about some little everyday event, you’ll still do it with feeling (”God, you should have seen the way this guy cut me off today!”)

Whether you’re loud or quiet, your natural way of speaking is, well, natural. It sounds authentic, it shows that you’re connected to what you’re saying and that you care to share it with whomever you’re talking to.

The Public Hearing Tone is exactly the opposite: it completely disconnects the speaker from both the message and the audience, and it projects a strong sense that you don’t care about either of the two (which in that moment is actually true).

So, what’s the solution? Well, the short answer, which will quickly improve your talk significantly, is to practice delivering your talk the way you would talk to a good friend. In fact:

1) recording yourself while talking with your friend about everyday things,
2) recording yourself while practicing delivering the speech to your friend, as if he personally was the entire target audience,
3) recording yourself when you’re practicing your talk in front of a wall/mirror, with the actual target audience in mind, and finally,
4) comparing how you sounded in each of the outtakes,

all of this will give you a very good idea of how you really sound when you’re supposed to deliver a speech, as opposed to your ”regular” voice (even better if you could also record yourself when you deliver the actual talk, and have that for future comparison).

This also means you will have to start getting used to the idea of hearing your voice on tape, which OH MY GOD IS SOOOO HORRIBLE, I KNOOOW. Really now, why exactly is listening to the recording of your voice such a major issue? You don’t like the way you produce sound, as opposed to everyone else who’s been hearing it since forever and doesn’t seem to be complaining about it that often? Even if you sound awful, they seem to have gotten used to it, so you might as well.

I wouldn’t emphasize this so much if it weren’t for the fact that I’ve seen too many people who, having for most of their life avoided recording themselves at all costs and missing out on all the great benefits this brings, got completely used to it after only 2 or 3 takes. While we’re at it, you might as well use a camera and also see what you look like when you talk. Yes, you’ll get used to it quickly as well.

So, this is enough for starters; next I’ll talk about the dreaded Audience all of us have to face at some point. As a hint, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve oh-so-subtly mentioned, in several places, communicating with a group of people instead of talking to an Audience. Come to think of it, that’s not really a hint, it’s kind of the whole point. In any case, more on that in the next post.

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