Maybe public speaking isn’t all it’s hyped up to be. Maybe it’s simple. A conversation. Odds are most of us had a conversation today. Whether it was at work, school, or the dinner table, you spoke to someone and were doing a form of public speaking. Is a simple conversation, with no formal audience, public speaking? Yes, the one overarching theme we learned during our series this month on public speaking is that maybe it really is as simple as conversing. Learning to view speaking to an audience as just a conversation with many different people – and not as a performance in front of a panel of judges – reduces speech anxiety and improves your overall delivery. Yes the fear of failing in front of others may always hover over us to some degree, but know this – the audience is rooting for you and wants you to succeed. Have a meaningful message and just talk like you would to a friend.
We also learned that you don’t have to be a lawyer, politician, or celebrity to give a great speech that commands people’s attention and compels them to take action. But you can learn a thing or two from watching speakers like that.
You can also learn from people just like you, seeking to improve their public speaking in a no-pressure environment, by attending a Toastmasters International meeting at one of their 13,500 chapter clubs.
In April we wanted to explore public speaking because verbal persuasion is a powerful skill. We communicate every day and knowing how to do it well makes all the difference. Good communication and effective public speaking are essential to your success whether you are a CEO, architect, teacher, yoga instructor, or public outreach professional like us.
This month we heard from a variety of experts in public speaking, including a world champion. We want to thank them for taking the time to contribute to our series and for offering their knowledge and great advice on the subject. They are:
Ryan Avery, 2012 Toastmasters International World Champion of Public Speaking
John Lau, 2012 President of Toastmasters International
Professional public speaking coach Geraldine Barkworth
Molly Bishop Shadel, Associate Professor of Law at the University of Virginia and co-author of the book Tongue Tied America: Reviving the Art of Verbal Persuasion
Michael T. Motley, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Davis and author of Overcoming Your Fear of Public Speaking: A Proven Method, and other publications on speech anxiety.
Next month we turn our focus from how we speak to what we say. We will explore words and how and why we use them. We’ll look at word origins, meanings, new words and even words we wish we could get rid of altogether. Words are beautiful, fun, and fascinating.
We hope you will keep reading our words and the words of the experts we interview. Then please provide a few words of your own and send us your feedback, comment on our blog or Facebook page, or tweet us at @CollaborateInc.
Catherine Smith, President
Collaborative Services, Inc.