British Columbia·Our Vancouver

Christopher Gaze shares public speaking tips

Christopher Gaze offers some public speaking tips as he prepares to recite Peter and the Wolf for the Vancouver Music Academy Symphony Orchestra.

Bard on the Beach founder prepares to recite Peter and the Wolf

Bard on the Beach founder shares tips in advance of Peter & the Wolf 6:29

Public speaking can be a daunting experience for many people — and if you're someone who gets nervous and shakes when standing in front of a crowd, Bard on the Beach founder Christopher Gaze shares his sympathy and some advice (spoiler alert: don't bother trying to picture the audience members in their underwear).

You might think the professional Shakespearean thespian has never bombed, but one experience in Whistler illustrates the importance of knowing your audience.

"It was a complete disaster because no one wanted to listen," he said. "Once there's dinner and good wine, it's hard to hold a crowd, even for really, really good speakers."

As he prepares to recite Peter and the Wolf for the Vancouver Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra, he ensures he knows his subject well by listening to recordings by popular narrators Leonard Bernstein and Bramwell Tovey.

Christopher Gaze will recite the Peter and the Wolf at the Orpheum Theatre on November 27. (CBC)

Public speaking is a good skill for anyone to master, says Gaze, whether you're the head of a boy scout troop, a school teacher or the chairman of a big company.

"Recognize that less is best," Gaze says, "If you think you've spoken enough, you probably have. You don't have to go on as if to prove something. Most people have got the point if you've known your subject properly."

For recitals, he repeats this phrase 10 or 12 times to warm up his mouth: "The tip of the tongue, the teeth and the mouth." 

To watch the interview with Gloria Macarenko from Our Vancouver, click here.