The big questions I keep hearing at the moment are these…
Can you become a confident speaker if you’re not a “natural”?
Can you become a confident speaker if you’re shy?
Can you become a confident public speaker if you’re an introvert?
Yes and yes and YES.
Why do I believe this? The short answer – which a client explained to me recently after he’d aced his big presentation, was that he used to think public speaking was like learning to play 🎾 tennis – lots of practice with no promise of becoming Roger Federer or Serena Williams in this life.
His epiphany he said, after we’d worked on his speaking and he’d put the practice in, is he was starting to trust me when I told him that learning to speak well is more like driving lessons 🚙.
Why? Because I firmly believe – and he’s coming round to the idea that with the right amount of lessons and practice, pretty much anyone can become a good speaker. Will any of us reach Martin Luther King or Ayrton Senna heights? Probably not. Does it matter? Not a jot.
Good enough matters more than world class, because good enough allows you to land ideas, shift minds, change things. And being shy, introverted, scared doesn’t need to be a permanent barrier to feeling comfortable and even confident when you are asked to speak.
It’s my firm belief that when you create the right conditions and put in the right practice, that you can thrive and shine as a speaker. ⭐️
At a deeper level, the longer answer is that It’s all about entelechy. The word comes from the Greek entelechies “that which realises or makes actual what is otherwise merely potential”. It’s most simply explained by the idea that every acorn contains its potential oak 🌳 if the right conditions are in place. The same is true of you as a speaker. Within you is the potential to be a good, and a great speaker. When you trust that innate entelechy, you can focus on the question you’d focus on if you were planning to take an acorn and assist it in becoming the oak tree it can be. You’d think carefully about the conditions in which it will best flourish.
1: Think carefully about creating the conditions that will allow you to flourish as a speaker 🌸 perhaps you join toastmasters, hire a speaker coach or sign up for an acting or stand up comedy course. Or perhaps you create a supportive group at work who can help each other rehearse when the big pitch or presentation hoves into view.
2: Give yourself time to grow 🌱 and know it can’t be rushed. Seed the ideas you want to express and then give yourself growth time where you will put the practice in. As a rule of thumb you need to say something at least three times before you say it under pressure to an audience (when it’s new content). Reverse & engineering the rehearsal time you need is crucial whether rehearsal means recording yourself and watching it back, practising with a supportive friend, colleague or dog.
3: Let yourself grow first before you can prune. When I work with clients my rule is first to celebrate then to refine. Because trusting what you do well enables you to settle into yourself, it encourages you to blossom and flourish as a speaker in your own unique way on the planet. When you give feedback to yourself, or give feedback to others, or invite others to give feedback to you, first celebrate what’s working. Then refine the one big thing that will improve. Don’t hack away for the sake of it until there’s nothing left. Growth is eminently attainable in our nature where perfection is not.
Have fun on your journey to growth – it’s so much fun to see where your speaker flourishing can take you – the sky’s the limit when you create the right conditions.
See you in a couple of weeks as I’ll be taking a little break over the Easter holidays!!
I shared a short video about this earlier in the week which you can watch by clicking on the link below.
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