It’s so funny the way the universe works sometimes. I just mentioned in my last post about the importance of allowing your personality to shine through as part of the public speaking skill set. And in describing that I mentioned about how a great public speaker is also a great salesperson.
In addition to what I spoke about in Symptoms of Fear of Public Speaking one of the most important factors in having a good stage presence is feeling comfortable, not just to deliver your public speech but also to allow your personality to shine through.
This is probably something that the beginning public speaker or the uncomfortable public speaker doesn’t want to hear. If people are not just seeing and hearing the public speaker delivering a speech, but are also seeing and hearing about who the public speaker is behind their speech, then we are opening ourselves up to being judged by the audience. If you have public speaking anxiety or a general fear of public speaking, this may rank as one of your primary nightmarish fears.
Shaking, sweating, stuttering, blushing, forgetting your words, worrying about forgetting your words, nervousness, involuntary gestures, quivering voice, dizziness, nausea, panic or anxiety attack, heart palpitations, dry mouth, freezing up, breathlessness. These are all the Symptoms of Fear of Public Speaking.
I was supposed to deliver a speech at the last Toastmasters meeting, but due to the flu and house move of both the Toastmaster and President, as VPE I had to go into emergency mode and make the agenda work out. Part of that process included me stepping in as Toastmaster.
However, I am pleased to say, everything went great as far as what I thought of my performance was concerned, especially in contrast to all efforts to date.
My experience of being Toastmaster (or the host) at my club’s Toastmaster meetings has always been interesting. I’ve now performed the role for the fourth time. Each time I felt slightly different:
- The first time was about getting through it.
- The second time was about doing it better than the first time.
- The third time was about trying to become comfortable.
- The fourth time felt a little like the third time because a number of challenges came up but I also felt more confident. Continue reading
One of the thigs I really enjoy is when I can help someone to do something they have held back from or perhaps had never recognised themselves as being capable of doing. Such opportunities are present in abundance in Toastmasters. As discussed earlier in part two, every time you are an Evaluator you have an opportunity to help someone imagine how much greater they can become through constructive feedback. However, you don’t have to be performing as an evaluator to achieve this.
One of the most useful things that you get from Toastmasters that you rarely get from a live speech is constructive criticism. If you do get this after a live speech it’s likely that the person offering it has forgot about the “constructive” part. In Toastmasters, we like to call this process an evaluation, and everyone that performs a role or speech at each Toastmasters Meeting bar one person will receive an evaluation. Why is it useful? It offers us the opportunity to learn what we are doing well at, and to consider areas which we may wish to improve.
In my last performance of the Toastmaster role, I received a fair bit of “evaluation.”
I had a very interesting session at my last Toastmasters club meeting. I was the Toastmaster (or host if you’re not familiar with Toastmasters) for the night. It was my third time performing that role. I believe it was my best performance yet. I didn’t rely on notes, and I was much less nervous than the previous two times performing the role. This allowed me to focus on the audience more.