I have a confession to make: I’ve spent the majority of my life being shy. When I was a kid having to meet new people — adults especially, but even kids — was a challenge for me. I grew out of it in high school and college but then when it was time for me to hit the workforce, it came back.
Growing up, I had a bad habit of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. Sometimes it was because I lacked tact and good judgment. Other times, I just used words that could be taken a multitude of ways depending on the listener’s perspective. While most of us outgrow the first scenario, the second one is little more difficult to avoid. In fact, I have a humorous story to share about me making this very mistake just a few years ago.
I’ve been telling people for years that if they could only improve one skill, it should be their public speaking skills. Now you might think I say this because I help people improve their speaking skills. Well, ironically what got me interested in teaching people public speaking skills is that I realized how important it is to have public speaking skills myself.
Truthfully, I didn’t really “get” the importance of public speaking (nor the benefits) until I took the Dale Carnegie course back in 2002. Prior to that, I hated public speaking and saw no value in it — kind of the way many people feel today.