September 6th, 2010
I am an English (ESL) teacher by trade, and plan to become a professor in the future. (That is NOT a picture of me, by the way.) As such, I want to develop a speaking and teaching style that makes me unique. If I tape my classes, I can use Soapbox Guru to improve.
Teachers who upload videos of themselves teaching have several advantages. First, because Soapbox Guru facilitates giving feedback on speaking, teachers can receive comments from strangers with public speaking experience, even public speaking coaches. Second, students can help their teachers improve. If you trust your students to leave constructive feedback, you can send them a link to your video. They might already have some ideas how you can improve your speaking and develop a style. They now have an ideal place to share them with you.
Third, you can upload a series of videos, perhaps over one week, or one month, or ten years, and you or others can evaluate your speaking and teaching abilities with hindsight. Uploading videos and gaining feedback can help teachers see what people like and dislike about their style, and give them an idea what to change and discard from it.
In short, Soapbox Guru is a great way to help us improve as teachers over time.
August 22nd, 2010
There are several methods of evaluating. The easiest thing to do is say what you liked about the speech. Public speaking is not easy! The best thing we can do to help someone improve on any skill is tell them what to reinforce. For example, this speaker is full of expressive facial and hand gestures, and sports a welcoming smile, which work effectively in his roast. If you can think of room to improve, wonderful; if not, tell him to keep up the good work.
At Toastmasters and other public speaking clubs, praise tends to be mixed with feedback. Naturally, if we want to improve we should know our strengths and weaknesses, which is why evaluations (and Soapbox Guru) exist. Speaker Andrey Niantchev won best speaker at a recent meeting for great humour, eye contact, gestures and delivery of his speech, and is clearly an experienced speaker. At the same time, I would suggest to him that he not rely too much on notes. To avoid using notes, try memorising the connections between ideas when practicing your speeches. Spending that little extra time obviates notes and makes speeches smoother.
Note that the above feedback was not simply what was wrong. It was also a specific suggestion on how to improve. The more specific we can be, the more of our experience we can transmit to others.
We should take into account the number of speeches the speaker has given so far, and indicate it when uploading videos, so that evaluators have more information about how experienced the speaker is and how critical evaluations should be.
Special thanks to Toastmaster1810 for all the great videos used as examples in this post!
July 3rd, 2010
As longtime members of Toastmasters ourselves, the founders of Soapbox Guru want to help Toastmasters and members of other public speaking clubs to realise their goals. Here are our suggestions.
First, tape all your speeches. Most of the best speakers in the world tape every speech they give because they can evaluate themselves over and over again. They can check their progress. They can see things that they have forgotten about but want to do again. Taping your speeches could be the best move you made after joining Toastmasters!
Second, you can tape your speeches before giving presenting them. Tape yourself in front of a blue wall, at your desk, in front of your garage, wherever, giving your speech. If you upload it to this site, you might get valuable feedback on the speech content and choice of words, or whatever criteria you specify when uploading, and let others evaluate you on those criteria. You could post the video to Facebook or your own site to tell others you would like evaluations. Then, when you go into the club meeting, you will be ready to give your greatest presentation yet.
Third, get your club on Soapbox Guru. This site already hosts videos from hundreds of other clubs–why not yours? The more members of your club are on SBG, the more evaluations you are likely to receive. The club pages feature is undeveloped at the moment and will be an important part of this site in the near future. You can even make suggestions as to what your club would like to be able to do by emailing us at email@example.com. Your club can see practices by other clubs in the videos and you can help improve your club.
If you are not, and do not intend to become, a member of Toastmasters, don’t worry! In future posts we will show you how anyone who speaks in public can make use of Soapbox Guru.
June 28th, 2010
Soapbox Guru works for those who film their speeches. Why would you want to take a video of yourself giving a speech?
Many of the world’s best public speakers video themselves speaking because they want to see the small quirks and mistakes they make that they could improve on.
Since no one is a perfect speaker, we can always improve. But without being able to see ourselves, we do not always remember the mistakes we make. I have often forgotten whole sections of a speech and not realised until I went home and compared the video of myself to my script.
Moreover, now that Soapbox Guru is here, others can see your video and evaluate you in the same way as you would yourself. They can tell you about any room for improvement you have, even if you don’t realise it, such as a facial tick, some hand clasping you don’t notice, some stuttering that is more distracting than you thought. And they can tell you about what you are doing well, which they should, because we should know what makes us good and unique so that we can do more of it.
So consider uploading your speeches and encouraging your club to do the same. The Gurus are doing it. You can be one too!
June 27th, 2010
Welcome one and all to the beginning of the Soapbox Guru Blog! This blog will guide you through the workings of Soapbox Guru and help you improve your public speaking as well. This first post is about how to use Soapbox Guru.
Many public speakers, Toastmasters and presenters of all kinds, take videos of themselves giving speeches. Soapbox Guru is designed as a video hosting site that enables you to upload videos of presentations and then get feedback, to help you improve. How can you begin getting evaluations?
1) To start, click “Sign Up” or go to http://www.soapboxguru.com/register. Follow the instructions on the page.
2) Click “Getting Started” or go to http://www.soapboxguru.com/start. You will see more instructions on how to upload your own speeches.
3) Upload a speech and specify what you would like others to evaluate. You can choose any aspects of your speech including voice, speech content and words, movements. Add tags to make your speech searchable. The upload page is http://www.soapboxguru.com/upload.
4) Watch other speeches on the site to get ideas about how you can improve your speaking. Evaluate them and they too can improve their presentation skills. Evaluating others not only helps them, it also makes you notice your own strengths and weaknesses.
5) If you belong to Toastmasters or another public speaking club, recommend that they begin filming their speeches. Your club can create an account on Soapbox Guru too!
6) Tell the world about Soapbox Guru, whether to promote your video or to help them improve their speaking abilities.
Follow these steps and you and everyone else can become expert presenters!