Social media commentary in 3D
Regular speaker Mark Avery (pictured in main image) said in the age of social media, Speakers’ Corner allows real-life action and debate, and all are welcome to join the fun. He said public speaking in the Domain was social media in 3D.
“We are hoping in 2023 that the crowds will come back after falling away during COVID-19 and we welcome anyone who wants to get up and have their say,” Mark said.
A self-confessed “Epiphany Specialist” and self-confessed spiritual advisor to the Dalai Lama (though he admits this is yet to be verified), Mark calls his listeners his “grasshoppers” and his foes “garden gnomes”.
“The ones standing on ladders are ‘the speakers’, and they believe it’s their job to educate their ‘grasshoppers’ or ‘groundlings’,” Mark said. “The ones sitting in chairs believe it’s their job to point out why the speaker is wrong, and to heckle,” he said.
Another regular is Helmut Cerncic, who claims he once beat Arnold Schwarzenegger in a body building contest, worked as the professional wrestler in Sydney in his younger years and loves to talk about science.
How to be a speaker
According to Mark Avery just bring your own box/stepladder/milk crate to stand on and speak. That’s it!
“When your listeners become bored, they will simply walk away. That’s helpful because you discover what works and what doesn’t. So, your public speaking skills improve and your confidence soars,” Mark said.
“You get used to rejection, and you learn to lose those ‘umms’ and ‘ahs’. You learn eye contact. You learn to improvise. You learn most of skills of public speaking, and that skill will benefit you in countless ways in daily life,” he said.
Mark said the most important thing a soapbox speaker needs to do is entertain. Leave out the boring bits. “The listeners don’t want to know dates, street names and the like, they want the guts of the story, the entertaining bits. And be different,” Mark said.
“Don’t tell us what we must do to stop global warming – we’ve heard that stuff elsewhere. Present a point of view that few people would agree with. If you really believe Peppa Pig is the best television program ever made, tell us, and prove it.
“Controversial ideas are good because the listeners will hang around to argue with you. But remember, your job is not just to argue with them, but to get them thinking,” he said.