Why do we need a speaking club?
Hayley talks about her reasons for creating the Speaking Space and how she believes it will help you (and her!) to feel more confident speaking in social situations.
The first speech at the first gathering of Cornwall’s first speaking club
“Why would someone like you start a speaking club?” It’s a great question I’ve been asked a lot.
I was always the quiet one. I remember many times, freezing in front of the class; or stumbling over my whispered words, face burning, heart pounding. I can recall the laughter and judgement I felt from fellow students – it’s not always easy to understand why someone struggles with something when you find it comes so naturally to you is it?
So many excuses; reasons not to go. And the physical illness when I had to! I passed up on so many wonderful opportunities, just because it meant speaking up.
We’re pushed into the limelight and expected to perform. But, no one tells us ‘how’ do they? As we grow older, we must speak for courses; job interviews; team meetings; pitches and speeches. In these moments, we put so much pressure on ourselves to get it right first time. To not make a mistake or put a foot wrong. Because the outcome is so important to us – it’s often a gateway to us doing what we really want to in life, after all. It’s like we’re jumping into the deep end before we’ve learnt to swim. But, wouldn’t you want to practice swimming in the shallow end first?
We need a safe place to practice new skills. We need somewhere it’s ok to make mistakes. To learn. We need gentle suggestions and encouragement. And that’s why someone like me would start a speaking club. Because I need it. And as you’re here with me tonight, I’m guessing you need it too.
So think of this as your training pool. With people who will be reassuring and supporting you. Because we’ve all felt anxious or panicky about speaking up in front of people too. And we’ll be accepting every blush, stutter and freeze with a smile and words of encouragement.
Will you join me in ending the avoidance; embracing any awkwardness you feel and taking steps to stretch your comfort zone and have a go?