I ABSOLUTELY enjoy public speaking!
I love public speaking whether it’s in class, at work or training workshops it doesn’t matter. I know a lot of you are probably making faces and saying who actually likes speaking in front of others. Believe me I get just as frightened as you are, but there is something else that drives me.
There is one reason why. I stutter!
Yes, I have a stammer that I have to deal with everyday and although it has gotten better I absolutely hated it as a child. The jokes, constantly being picked on, the constant “slow down and speak” statement from others which sounds good but it had nothing to do with rushing. Knowing what you want to say and not being able to simply say it can be very frustrating and having others around you that do not understand how hard it can be makes it worse.
I remember having the answers in certain classes in grade school and not wanting to raise my hand for fear of the usual fumbling over my words. At times it would be incoherent or just way too fast for anyone to understand. I constantly heard “Huh?” “What did you say?”. Even when I hear those questions now I think of myself as a child and it hurts, certain moments are easier to shake off than others. Some of our fear with public speaking may draw back to a horrible situation as a child. These situations can pop up in our heads and create negative thoughts. When you are forced with negative thoughts one thing you can do to combat them is to remember and recite positive quotes or verses.
These are the thoughts that help me to remain calm while speaking:
1. People care what I have to say
People can be mean but it doesn’t mean that they ARE being mean. I would rather for someone to ask for clarification if they didn’t understand me than to move on from the conversation that was not effective. They are listening, they do want to hear what you have to say, they do value your opinion.
2. I did the work so now let me show you
If anyone is in college you will probably have to present more than you would care to however, remember all the work you have done prior. You have read the chapters, you solved the equations, and became the problem solver so why not get credit for it? Your classmates and colleagues might not read your final report(s) so why not represent your work with a great speaking presentation.
3. What I have to say matters
This goes for everyone, we all have meaningful opinions and thoughts and you should speak up. There will be times when after voicing your opinion someone will tell you they had the same thought but they did not want to speak up. You have a right to be heard.
4. There is power in the tongue
I choose to use words carefully. There is strength and compassion in that thought process. Your tongue has the power to uplift or destroy so be careful with this tool. If you do not believe me take a look at the political atmosphere and how citizens can be moved or dismayed by what they hear. Even with friends and family dreams can be shattered or protected by mere words.
Overcoming your fear of public speaking is an ongoing process. Rehearsing your speech or presentation can help as well. Being unprepared does not help your fear and is counterproductive. Write down and answer questions you think the audience might ask so that you will not be caught off guard. Expect questions because you are planning to have done well and because of that your audience will want to know more.
Public speaking is a great skill to have, there could be potentially major changes you may want to implement at your job, sports team, church or even home. The effectiveness of the change management process will be most affected by your communication skills. Effective communication is a tool all great leaders have mastered, they know what to say, how to say it and when.