Speaking with Courage, and Confidence

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How do you feel when you have to give a speech? For some people, even the thought of introducing themselves to a new group will stop them in their tracks. Rather than face ____________________(fill in the blank) they worry and fret and even avoid a potential opportunity.

What is it you are afraid of when it comes to speaking in public? A participant in one of my workshops nervously answered, “…of being stoned!” With full confidence, I told her that we don’t do that in Canada anymore. Do we? I thought not.

People, who are so terrified by the idea of speaking in front of people, are often people with the greatest stories to share. People like you, who could entertain, educate or engage a group of people. Perhaps your story will change someone’s world for the better. I remember when a former participant stopped me to tell me that one of my talks had changed her world. “Thank you so much,” she said. What a wonderful feeling.

Do you want to overcome your fear of speaking to a group? Would you like to learn to speak with courage, control, and confidence?

Here are some lessons I learned when I began speaking in public.

Lesson one: Have a big enough reason:

It helps when you believe you have no choice. When I was a single parent of two small children, the opportunity to supplement my income by becoming a winery tour guide presented itself. I was very shy, afraid of most everything. In spite of my fears I accepted the offer because I was a single parent who needed more income. And, I saw it as a way to increase my confidence. And, I loved it.

Lesson two: Find someone to help you.

Once I discovered how much l love speaking to groups of people, I had to take my next step and learn how to create my own speeches. No one I knew was interested in such things. Then I heard about Toastmasters. I’d heard about it a couple of times before. With my new found confidence I decided to check it out. I went to my first meeting (Garden City Toastmasters) by myself – and I survived. What I found was a group of caring supportive people who were learning the same things I wanted to learn.

The one thing that terrified me and, at the same time, attracted me was the evaluations of each and every speech. Oh no! Hurray! I realized that I did not take evaluations very well. I was always defensive and always afraid of hearing what was wrong with me! At Toastmasters, evaluations focus on what you do well. They offer suggestions for growth or improvement. You can evaluate someone and leave them feeling good about it. That was something I wanted to learn. At Toastmasters I made new friends and learned new skills and began to develop courage, control and confidence.

Lesson three: Take Your Next Step with Presentation Skills Coaching

The next way you can develop those same skills, is when you have to give a speech, or a presentation, you find a coach to help you develop your content and clarify your message so that the message the audience receives is the one you deliver.

A few of my clients have gone from terrified to calm; rigid and stern, to comfortable and open, afraid to speak to anxious to share. As their speeches progressed they became comfortable with their message, confident that they knew their stuff, and they learned to enjoy speaking to groups – from a thank you at a service club to an hour talk to a group of 300. The progression from session one to session four was incredible. A couple of them brought me to tears I was so proud of them.

You too can take your information and create a speech that you will deliver with courage, control and confidence. To find out how, take Your Next Step to Speaking with Confidence and contact me by phone 905-941-5669, or email: charmainegrace@cogeco.ca.