I need some advice because I have been told that I am completely shitty at verbally explaining my ideas and concepts to other people. What can I do to improve these skills?
You have the privilege of being my first response as a new member of the Life of an Architecture Student blog! Feel special!
So, to answer your question about techniques and tips to improve your verbal skills of presenting your design proposals…there’s a few that I practice myself.
1. In my opinion, the most important thing you can do is really believe in your design. I have had several projects where I’ve been unsure of what I’m presenting and the critics can tell that I am not convinced with what I am trying to do with my design which in turn keeps the critics from being convinced as well. Believing in your project makes it much easier to talk about because in your mind, everything works and makes sense.
2. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. I cannot stress the importance of this technique enough. As I mentioned before, I too have struggled with verbal explanation so I can truthfully say this has helped me many times. Sit down, grab a pen and paper, and write down everything that needs to be covered in your presentation. Star the important topics that you must mention to further their understanding of your design. Then sit in a quiet room and talk to yourself .
That might sound crazy but speak out loud to yourself and rehearse from the introduction of your name to the final closing sentence. Then repeat it…again and again and again. It is now engraved in your mind; the topics that need to be covered and the order in which they need to be mentioned. This allows for a continuous, effortless presention. They will appreciate the fact that your presention was well rehearsed and not choppy with you jumping around to different areas of your project.
3. At the end of the day, it’s just a conversation. A problem I have faced with critiques is that my mind set when I begin presenting is that they are only here to “bash” on my design and point out the negatives. Yes, critics tend to do this, but it’s not their main goal. Their main goal is to help you to improve your work. So talk WITH them…not AT them. A conversation is a two-street with both parties actively speaking. Plus, I always felt I got more out of conversations than standing up their receiving bullet points on what I did well or poorly.
Remember, it’s your design. At the end of the day…you have to be convinced before you can effectively and efficiently convince others.