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‘What if’s’ of public speaking
How far will you be stretching your comfort zone this year?
What exciting new challenges does 2017 have lined up for you?
For me, and one or two of my quiet friends, this year is building up to a speech at our School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) graduation ceremony. Now, I am not naturally comfortable at the centre of attention and whilst I am excited about an opportunity to share something that I believe in with all my heart, there’s still a deep sense of dread when I think about looking out at a sea of business people. It would be very easy to fall down the ‘what if?’ rabbit hole right now… and to keep falling for the rest of the year. If you have ever had to give a presentation; go to a networking event; pitch a business idea or make a speech, you might just remember that feeling yourself. So what will prevent the fall?
Being the best and bravest speaker you can be
Before Susan Cain’s phenomenal Ted Talk: The Power of Introverts, she spent a year training in the style of a marathon runner to be the best and bravest speaker she could be. She calls this her ‘year of speaking dangerously’ after a lifelong fear of public speaking. So I thought “great, doing that will help me too!”
But it turns out that it’s not so easy to find opportunities in Cornwall. And I mean ‘safe’ environments to practice speaking in, which is exactly where I want to be – surrounded by others who feel nervous and awkward in the spotlight too. Amongst understanding people, supporting and encouraging each other. Celebrating the small wins, because we know they’re really the big steps. Isn’t that where you’d want to be too?
Cornwall is full of students who need to present their work and entrepreneurs who must pitch their ideas and network. And people attend job interviews every day. Just think for a moment about all those times when you use your public speaking skills… it can’t be just me that wants somewhere friendly to practice, can it?
Becoming quietly confident speakers
Because nothing like this seems to exist in Cornwall, we’re starting a speaking club of our own. One for the quiet ones, and the first of it’s kind in Cornwall.
My hopes are that by the time SSE graduation comes around in October, myself and my social entrepreneur friends at SSE will be feeling well prepared and quietly confident in our abilities to give a clear and powerful speech about our work.
And maybe you will be feeling quietly confident in your abilities to deliver your next presentation; to strike up a conversation at a networking event; to pitch your business idea to the SSE panel of ‘dragons’; or walk into your next job interview with more confidence than ever before.
So what I would love to know is, are you interested? How would you benefit from growing your speaking confidence? Let me know in the comments below.