Communication is the cornerstone in which every society is built and sustained. It is the only means that we can use to establish connections, garner opinions, build a progressive society and promote positive change. The void of effective communication makes life challenging, and societal progress highly unlikely. One vital aspect of communication is public speaking, and this is one area that most people tend to shy away from.
Fear of Public Speaking
The fear of public speaking or speech anxiety is termed Glossophobia, and it is one feeling that most people across the globe can relate to. You might successfully evade public speaking while in pre-school, primary school, high school or even college, but you will undoubtedly meet it when you arrive in the real world.
Since you will relate with people often, and will most definitely be involved in situations where you are left with no choice but to speak to an audience, public speaking skill is the only remedy to such scenarios, and it will come in handy if you have learned and honed it very well. People often console themselves with the notion that public speakers were born with the skills. This leads them to think that they can not possibly learn the act of public speaking or if they can, it would be an arduous task since it’s not innate in them.
Myth about learning public speaking skill
Public speaking coach Ariel Ghinga from Atlanta Public Speaking LLC sees this as a highly flawed perception and relegates it to the myth department. During my interview with him, he talks about how he came to master the skill of public speaking and even coaches others to do so. He says, “I used to be the worst speaker, as I was not born with the talent of public speaking. Everything that I’ve developed regarding my speaking abilities was something that I had to work for. Even today where I’m the owner of a company that promotes public speaking, you would think, ‘oh this guy had the best, amazing, and elaborate training at some University. Nothing could be further from the truth.
I was petrified of public speaking, literally. I remember sometime back in high school when I had to do a presentation on the country of Colombia in geography class. I remember getting up in front of the class; I had all these really cool statistics on the country of Colombia on this big poster board. However, when I got up in front of the class, I could not say a word. It was literally like crickets creaking. My face turned red, my heart was pounding, and I couldn’t say a word. I sat back down while my poster was still up there, and it was so embarrassing. Now, I am living proof that the skill of public speaking can be learned through nature and conditioning. I engaged in self-training, and constant practice, coming up with some really excellent strategies to shortcut the process.
Anyone can learn
Anyone can learn this skill, as I’ve worked with some really poorly skilled public speakers. There was one lady who had quit college and dropped out because she found public speaking nerve-racking and couldn’t get the hang of it at the time. It was like a phobia for her. She enrolled for our training and shortly after she had to do a presentation. We sent her to an organization where she made her speech and even won an award for it, that first time. Subsequently, she went back to school and obtained her degree. Other than myself, she was the second-worst case study I had come across, but within a short time, we were able to take her from stage fright, to spotlight.’
Benefits of public speaking skill
- It increases self-confidence dramatically
- It teaches one to be at ease and comfortable around other people
- It is inarguable one of the most effective ways to get one’s message across
- It helps to make a difference in people’s lives through the transfer of knowledge and influencing people positively
- Public speaking improves communication, leadership, and interaction skills which boosts performance in other areas of life
- It helps one improve upon one’s knowledge, teach it, and demonstrate it
- It sets one aside and differentiates one from others
- It attracts supporters and like-minded people
The truth is public speaking can be learned by just anyone regardless of your discipline, status or background. It is not a skill limited to those whose career demands constant interaction with people. It is for everyone and with the right mind conditioning, relevant training, and consistent practice, it can only get better.
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