A couple of years ago, I heard that the thought of speaking in public are amongst the top fears for humans, just right after death… that is pretty telling and this is one of the reasons why I decided to do something to improve that skill.
Many of us probably have countless experiences of preparing an executive report and having to get up in front of our colleagues or friends, present our ideas and findings, often with PowerPoint slides, wishing to be somewhere else… and simply hoping to get to the end of the presentation without losing anyone, no one sleeping or snoring, asking the wrong question or simply stating ‘they heard it all before and the presentation was useless’… Sound familiar?
Now, who also recalls the scene with Colin Firth in the King’s Speech, when his mentor leaves him alone in front of the radio microphone to deliver his crucial message to the nation and the King is utterly incapable of muttering a single word for a few seconds, yet the whole nation was waiting for the King to speak and guide them through these difficult times? I am sure many of us felt for this monarch and were somewhat relieved we were not in his position, although one can recall being totally petrified at the beginning of his/her speech during the latest company meeting.
Of course, very few of us have the good fortune of having a personal coach or mentor like the King. However, the good news is the solution is one click away: many of us have access to free or very affordable JCI events like the public speaking event on Wednesday 26th April that could help us practice and improve without the fear of appearing ridiculous in front of our peers and quite frankly too shy to even try. They say the first step is the hardest and it is also true for public speaking. Signing up and attending your first event takes a bit of an effort but I promise everything after that is worth your initial worry and personally rewarding.
There is a key element of the Public Speaking Club: practicing in a safe environment. By safe, I mean the physical environment (yes the London Chamber of Commerce is a good venue for anyone new in the city and to the JCI organisation) and also the audience: knowing that almost everyone was there for the same purpose, albeit not at the same starting point, is quite reassuring. You would think two hours for a first meeting is quite a lot but time flies quickly and the session was very interactive. You get to meet and learn from people with different backgrounds and cultures. Best of all, we had the benefit of meeting a professional speaker, JCI London President Simon Bucknall.
Simon provided us with useful tips and advice. So for your next meeting (yes I am sure more of us will take the opportunity to join the meeting next time), remember to focus on the audience, not you, it is all about them. If you are attending as an observer, you may be asked to give some feedback so keep these acronyms in mind: “C.R.C.” , Commend, Recommend and Commend again.
As Mihai said while mentioning ‘the richest man in Babylon’: don’t wait, don’t put it off and start today, even with a small step. If you are serious about improving this essential communication skill, come to the next meeting on 30th May and check out the Toastmasters International website to practice at a club in the meantime.
Go on, click on the link http://www.jcilondon.org.uk/events/ and start your journey to a better communication!’
Written by Sandra Goetz
Categorised in: Charity
This post was written by Mehnaz Siddiqui