By ◆ Juppie on Wednesday, May 19, 2010 @ 8:59 AM

My language arts teacher recently decided that we had to give short speeches about our World War Two books, so she's been going over what we should and shouldn't do when speaking in class.

To try and show us what we ought to do when we're speaking, she showed us a promotional video for her friend who is a motivational speaker. It was pretty funny towards the beginning of the video.

He was saying, "What we played with the guys was sophisticated. We had TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES! What can be cooler than that? You had a turtle who was a ninja that you could take to school with you and you could decapitate a Barbie's head with it!"

Then my history teacher decided to talk about a very important thing when you're giving a speech. You have to have a message, something that you want your audience to remember even if they don't really pay attention to the rest.

His example was when we were doing our presentations about historical figures we had researched. One girl (let's call her A) went first. My teacher says that while she was presenting we were all thinking to themselves, "I'm not ready to present. I'm not ready to present. I'm not ready to present...Oh, wait, what was the name? I'll have to ask later. I'm not ready to present. I'm not ready to present..." and so on. And then when the next person goes, the people who haven't gone are thinking the same as before while A, who had just gone, is thinking, "I'm so glad it's over with. I'm so glad it's over with. Oops, I missed the name. I'm so glad it's over with. I'm so glad it's over with." Since everyone's kind of distracted by their own thoughts, you can't necessarily expect your audience to understand everything you said...So you have to make sure they at least get the important parts.

But the secret to a good presentation is something we learned in geometry class, pretty much by accident. A few days ago we were being taught about the areas of prisms and whatnot. While he was talking the teacher walked around holding up a translucent cylinder (I think it was glass or plastic, I couldn't really tell) and we were transfixed by it. He had the notes for the lesson projected, and every time the cylinder was over the projected screen, it looked strange. All beautiful and shiny-like. We were so captivated by it that my teacher said he was heart-broken. He had been teaching for 15 minutes and we were quiet because we were bored and uninterested. But as soon as that amazing cylinder was held up, we became very excited.

So, if you want your audience to pay attention, project something and then wave a magical prism in front of it. It's sure-fire.

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