The Life and Times of a Public Speaking Trainer – 8
I began to understand the format of the public speaking club sessions (which I discovered in the previous chapter). They were in two parts: one part was a prepared speaking session where two people spoke who had prepared speeches beforehand; and the second was the impromptu speaking session where a person chosen at random from the audience would be asked a question on a random topic and then they would need to speak for at least one minute.
‘Can I ask Taha to come out and speak please?’
You’ve got to be kidding me. This had to be deliberate. I was crumbling inside. I got up and the usual plethora of nerves kicked in – the heart beating faster, body getting hotter, adrenaline levels going through the roof.
To this day, I cannot remember what question was asked of me. To this day, I have no idea what I said. All I recall is the last few words I said – ‘that is my two pennies worth’ and I recall people laughed at this.
I survived and I couldn’t believe it. Maybe this public speaking thing wasn’t too bad. Sure, I still didn’t like it but maybe I can become better.
And so it began. My journey to becoming the public speaker. The same motivation and determination that kept me going at university – that kicked in and I went to every session the club held.
I spoke more and more and I grew in confidence. The feedback I was receiving about my speeches was far better than I thought – and this got me thinking – we are usually much better than we think.
One thing led to another and one and a half years later, I became the president of the public speaking club. The president of the club that was doing something I seriously disliked leading me to the conclusion that just about anybody can speak in public.
Continuing on with the steps to removing the fear and anxiety of public speaking:-
Step 6 – Seek expert help
Having mentors mentioned in step 4 is different to seeking expert help. The role of the mentor is to encourage and support you along the journey and if you have, for example, a speech impediment, they might not be best placed to help you. Here, you will need the help of a speech expert. Likewise, once you are gaining confidence, you might want to figure out how you can speak with impact and conviction – at which point you would enlist the help of persons such as myself who train people in speaking with impact.
Also, the expert can provide gems that can make easy your development. I often say that five minutes with a public speaking expert is better than reading countless books on public speaking. Why – because the expert has information that most books can never have, i.e. the expert has met you and has that vital piece of information allowing them to tailor their advice to your situation.
For those who have experienced traumatic experiences and this may hinder one’s development, seeking the help of experts would be highly recommended.