I couldn’t stop squirming in my seat.
Every word out of his mouth made me fidget with frustration. It was all I could do to not shout out loud, “Please shut up and sit down!”
I was at a conference listening to a very experienced public speaker talk about how to speak in public. And, like most “speaking experts,” he was spelling out all the do’s and don’t’s of public speaking. Outlining the right ways and the wrong ways, the good ways and even better ways to get your point across and wow your audience.
He even told us what colors to wear. How to stand. How to move. He told us to be sure to amp up our energy, get the crowd to say “Yes!,” and be responsible for the energy of the room.
Okay, I fully understand that this expert, like most speaking experts, are very well-intentioned. They really want to help you be effective and do your best. But this rules-of-the-road approach to public speaking is what contributes mightily to the fear, doubt, self-consciousness and feeling of “not-enoughness” that many people feel when it comes to speaking in public. It chokes people’s own, true, unique, wild voice, their own natural way of expressing themselves.
You already have everything you need to be an effective, charismatic speaker. You do. You don’t need to adopt certain tricks or mannerisms. Nor do you need to speak with an artificially amped-up enthusiasm or energized voice. You do not need to move in this way or that. Or use props or powerpoint. All of these suggestions, though well-meaning, keep us struck in the illusion that we need to be other than who we are right now, in this moment, in order to speak well in public.
Yes, it’s always good to learn from people with experience. But not at the expense of losing touch with the truth that we have, right now, to inherent ability to express ourselves fully, effectively, creatively and fearlessly.
You already have it all. Everything you need to speak in public. For instance: