“Isn’t that a Toastmasters thing?” you might ask. Well, speaking in a Toastmasters Club is indeed a form of Public Speaking, but there is more to it than that! So let’s get down to some definitions.
DYADIC. When two persons communicate, the interaction between them is referred to as dyadic. (See www.dictionary.cambridge.org).
PUBLIC SPEAKING. (Same reference). It is about speaking on a particular subject to a group of people. This term embraces activities such as:
- Speaking at a meeting
- Giving a speech or opening address at a particular event
- Briefing one’s superiors on the progress of a project
- Making a sales presentation
- Teaching or lecturing a group of students/participants
- Addressing a rally, political or otherwise.
- Speaking at an Elocution contest or a Debating competition.
- Speaking from the pulpit at a religious gathering……. the list goes on.
There is therefore no avoiding the fact that at some time or another, at times even on a daily basis, we have to speak before others, to inform, update, inspire, motivate, challenge, persuade or convince. It is important that we do so with confidence, clarity and conviction. What is it that prevents so many from doing so?
ENTER THE FEAR FACTOR!
Speaking before an audience is one of the greatest fears we have. It surpasses the fear of death even! It makes us “freeze”, have “butterflies in the stomach”, have cold, clammy hands or makes us sweat profusely. It is an absolute horror for some as I have personally witnessed over the many years conducting courses on Speaking and Presenting Skills.
We shall examine some of these fears and then see how these can be overcome.
THE “WHAT IFs”
This has to do with negative self-talk. When asked to speak, the mind is pestered with doubts like:
“What if I say the wrong thing?”
“What if I forget what I want to say?”
“What if the audience does not respond or like what I say?”
“What if I make a fool of myself?”
“What if I fail to get my message across?”
Do some of these doubts sound familiar to you? If they do, remember that you are not alone.
We shall continue to look at other reasons for the Fear Factor in the next posting.
A CLOSING THOUGHT
“We grow fearless by walking into our fears” Robin Sharma.