Public speaking with Alberto Castelvecchi

Today started a great module by Alberto Castelvecchi about public speaking. Public speaking and communication, in general, are two fundamental skills in today’s world, and of course, that’s true also for service designers. Thanks to this two-day class, our students will learn to communicate with ease on any occasion and will appreciate and deepen their perception of body language. They will also be able to rapidly solve any problem of content management, produce effective speeches and impactful performance, experiencing a great deal of interactive and lively situations so that they will get a better sense of preparedness.

The communication’s mantra nowadays is authenticity and simplicity. Communication doesn’t mean only “to speak”, but presents a bunch of many different factors that can affect the authenticity and simplicity, and so the quality, of your communication. First of all, body language. As prof. Castelvecchi said: ‘Take care of your body because is where you’re gonna live for your whole life’. Wherever you live, no matters if in Europe, the USA, or Asia, you always are in your body, and so you have to learn how to live with it and, let’s say, how to use its expressivity. One important key aspect comes from our very own nature: we are vertical mammals, and so the basic rule of body communication is that “what comes from means power”. Think about, for example, the very meaningful movements our faces and bodies present when we’re approaching someone to talk with. They can communicate a lot right before we even start talking; they can describe us as aggressive, passive, or assertive. There’s also our spatial awareness, that responds to two principles, one vertical and one horizontal: “H” as hierarchy and “T” as territory.

When it comes to public speaking, there are several drivers and skills we can improve to give a beautiful speech: message and structure of the speech, tone of voice, posture and body movements, rhythm, and so on. When presenting a project or holding a lecture, we have to keep in mind that our presentation is not the slides, are we presenting them. Presentations and discussions are also context-dependent: it changes a lot, for instance, between physical and digital communication; this is a very important aspect in the pandemic teleworking world. Is your home office’s light correct? If your face is covered by shadows, maybe you can improve that. Are your eyes looking at the camera? This helps you create direct contact with your audience, exactly like you’re in presence. Is your eye alignment with the cam coming from above? As we’ve already seen, this could communicate power.

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