So we had our second day off campus yesterday, and I must admit I found some of it useful.
I do think the class could have been shortened to a day (though splitting the class in half was the right call). And I do still find some of the exercises felt really silly. For the record, I am also not yelling "WEE WOO WEE WOO" before I do a talk, no matter how much is loosens up my facial muscles.
I thought giving the speech though, after learning about how the ways you can present yourself affect the ways you are received, was really helpful...it would have been helpful to know before going there that we were going to give a speech though, since I know my biggest issue with public speaking is preparation.
But what also struck me about these exercises is how much they can play on body issues that people have. As a kid, I was very shy (go ahead, get it out...I'll wait). My response to that was to become the smart ass, the class clown. Better to control when people are laughing at you. It is kind of like owning the word "dyke": it doesn't hurt me anymore when people call me that because I have made it my word. But it used to sting like hell.
Likewise, some of these exercises brought back an old pain. Running under the parachute when certain things are called out may sound like fun to you, but for me, it was hard not to feel like the fat kid people tried to trap under the parachute when we played similar games in school. And what I didn't sense from the instructors was any understanding that this could happen, or how it could affect people. Perhaps as actors, they forget what it is like to have or have had body issues.
But like I said, in all, I found the exercise useful. Speaking publically makes me nervous every single time, even though I sort of enjoy it. Yeah, I suppose that does make me a masochist. But regardless, I felt I left with a few tools that allow me to make that nervousness less obvious to the audience.
And since I will likely being doing lots of public speaking in my career, this is a good thing.