My friend Steve Pavlina recently published a personal development book which I recently had an opportunity to read. If you’re not familiar with Steve, he’s a video game creator turned personal development blogger who has made quite a name for himself. Steve’s website (StevePavlina.com) gets over two million visitors per month.
When it comes to public speaking, and in particular the fear of public speaking, I’ve heard some wild things. “I wish I could give my speech in the dark.” “I wish I could be invisible when I have to give a speech.” I’ve yet to hear anyone say that they wish they could give a speech that no one can hear, so there’s obviously something about being seen by and audience that strikes fear in the hearts of many.
There are a number of things that cause the fear of public speaking but they generally fall into one of three categories:
Children are truly amazing people – they have an unbelievable outlook on life and the world. Many of the things that stress us out as adults were things that we looked forward to as children. Life was simple: no bills, no job, no appointments, no real responsibility. I remember one particular summer where my agenda was to discover the hidden treasures in the woods behind the new house my family moved into – I woke up at the crack of dawn to get started and I’d be up half the night scheming and planning out the following day. I don’t understand why as adults, we forget that excitement we once had as children and as children, we can’t wait to become adults. As young adults, we’re chided to not act childish yet sometimes as adults, acting childish is the medicine that we need to cheer ourselves up during tough times.
More so than any other professional skill, improving your public speaking skills will give you the most benefit in your career whether you’re employed, self-employed or unemployed. Even if you don’t regularly speak to groups, the skills that it takes to communicate effectively to groups and the confidence that you’ll gain will automatically help you in interpersonal situations. So here are the top three reasons why you should improve your speaking skills.
Reason #1: The Skills are Transferable
A few weeks ago, I was sitting in the waiting area while my car was being serviced when a woman sitting next to me struck up a conversation with me. She had noticed the flyers I had for a free public speaking workshop and told me that she desperately needed to improve her speaking skills because her failure to do so had ruined her career. As I looked at this bright young woman who seemed difficult to dislike, I asked her to tell me more.
This Saturday, I will be hosting a free public speaking workshop at Tatnuck Booksellers in Westborough, MA. I do a couple of free public events each year to help spread the word about public speaking and communication skills. For more details on the event, please visit http://www.jvf.com/services/events/2008-10-tatnuck.asp.
This event is not a sales pitch (the agreement I have with the venue does not allow me to sell anything at the event), it’s a scaled down version of what I teach at my full day workshops and in my courses. At this event, I’ll cover the basics of public speaking including:
We all feel down from time to time. Sometimes, it has to do with things that seemingly shouldn’t have any effect on us such negative stories in the news or even the weather (Seasonal Depression affects a lot of folks). Other times, it’s a bit deeper: someone says something to us, we feel overwhelmed with everything going on in our lives or we’re not feeling well physically, which often affects us psychologically.