Fear - The biggest barrier to speaking up and out
If it wasn't for fear, speaking to groups would be easy. If you can speak one-on-one you can speak to groups. You just have to learn how to make this easy (or easier at least).
Please accept without question that every task that exists can be made easier if that is your focus. Whether it is discovering the human genome, learning to ski, or developing a life skill such as speaking if front of a group.
You need two things to make something easier - great tools and tons of practice.
There are many speaking resources to give you good speaking tools. In our resources section we list many organisations that can help. ASC has a great set of speaking tools to help which are aimed at most people. However what sets ASC apart is that we have the best environment to practice, one which no commercial course can ever offer. Even if you decide to go on a commercial course to teach you, consider joining us to practice in a safe and supportive environment
A Message You Believe In
Possibly the greatest reduction in fear comes about by speaking about something that you really believe in. If you are confident on the subject that you are talking about, if you are passionate about the message that will benefit the listeners, you are likely to feel more confident about delivering a speech, seminar, presentation, etc.
Every speech should have a message, a point of wisdom, a benefit for the listener. If you have a desire to speak, even if you suspect it is just to grow your confidence, deep down you will have ideas and passions just waiting to erupt into a great speech.
Only Speak from knowledge and passion.
Learn the tools
The best tools to learn to speak in public are nothing about making it easier for you. Quite the reverse. It is about making it easier for your audience to enjoy a speech. You know what you want to say. What makes you scared is that the audience will not appreciate what you have to say. The greatest barrier, by far, to an audience appreciating what you have to say is confusion.
Good speaking is about getting this message over for the benefit of your audience. They need to understand what your point of view is, where you are going with it and be left with a simple and clear message at the end.
Consider use of voice and gestures - two of the great tools. When speaking one-on-one you do this naturally to convey the emotional content of what you say. The same words can be light hearted, a stab at humour, a message full of pathos, a plea, an acknowledgment, and many more things.
Speech construction - a memorable beginning to signpost the theme, the body which develops the theme and an ending to burn the message into their brains . This is all for the convenience for your audience.
We all have something worth saying but when we become practiced is saying it so our listeners can join our verbal journey, a massive burden is lifted and speaking out becomes much easier.
Get the best speaking tools
Focus on your audience
Your personality is your strategy for dealing with the outside world. It has only one task - to protect your inner psyche. We are all immensely fragile. We all build barriers. That is why loved ones can hurt the most. To them, we lower our defenses - expose our most intimate thoughts, fears and aspirations. Any barb will strike home - right at our inner self. Accept it - you are no different - you are so easily bruised inside. We all are.
The greatest known emotion to protect us is compassion. Compassion for others. It is a defining human quality. Once you are worried about protecting another from whatever is punishing them, your ability to be bruised is almost non existent. You can use this to overcome your fear of speaking to others.
Assuming that you are delivering a message, consider what are the benefits to a person who follows your point of wisdom. Then reverse this and consider the people in your audience that are being cheated by ignorance of your message. Your audience will be a mix of people who are being cheated and those who are not.
You are now only speaking to those who are need help. If you fix on them you will be fear proof.
I had to evaluate a school speech competition. Previously they had been evaluated a little roughly and had been upset. My focus was on how to evaluate with a gentle touch but not avoiding my responsibilities as a judge. I was not speaking to the teachers, the parents, nor to the friends who had attended. I was only talking to the speakers. They were 14 - 15 years old, they had attempted something daunting and I could so easily have damaged their feelings big time! I had been apprehensive but when giving my judgment along with evaluations I was consumed with only one emotion - concern to avoid hurting. I had no fear whatsoever
Compassion and concern for those you speak to
In the early days you will try and ape speakers that you admire. However everybody has their own natural style. Consider your personality. Are you a maverick or someone happier in a team, are you touchy-feely or happier with facts, do you like pressure and pace or time to reflect? We are all different and we can all live a great life. Our style of achieving this will evolve to be the one best suited to us.
So it is with speaking in public. Experiment while in the safety of ASC and work out the shape of your speaking style. When being humorous are you happier with the dead-pan approach or with exaggerated expressions and so on.
Find your style and stick to it
Development Programme >>>