Sunday, July 29, 2012

Conquer Public Speaking Fear with The Self Compass!

As a psychologist I've helped hundreds of people of all ages extinguish anxiety about speaking to groups, since speaking is an adult skill that enhances your mental health and increases your social pleasure.

It's not that hard. The four compass points of the Self Compass growth tool show the way.

 I will draw from each of these compass points in a quick tour around your Self Compass, a tour that will help you move away from:

the fear of public speaking

toward the pleasure of speaking success!

Both you and everyone you will ever speak to share a Love compass point of personality. Love is where you feel and express social interest, excitement, caring, and joy. When love is communicated, people light up with pleasure, whether they are eight or twenty-eight or eighty.

So in considering a public talk, lay fear aside long enough to care for the well-being of those whom you'll be addressing. Care about what concerns them, what worries them, what busy schedules they face, what personal adversity that are undergoing. Care enough to give them a few moments of your energy and experience that you have condensed into a talk, and care that they have a personal takeaway from your speech that they can apply to life.

Now just as the right amount of Love makes for a caring presentation, too much Love would make you a bore. You don't want to care so much about the audience that you need them to hang on every word, consider this the finest speech they've ever heard, or praise you to high heaven once you've finished. So while too much Love would contribute to speaking anxiety, just enough Love will contribute to conveying that you like them!


Next on the Self Compass comes the Assertion compass point. Here you have a perfect right to express your viewpoint, feelings, knowledge, and expertise, regardless of what people think about it. In your Assertion you don't sit there worrying about what people might think. You think about how to find words and illustrations for what you know best — the very topic that you are presenting. Again, too much Assertion would make you come off with a chip on your shoulder, or too much argumentation and too little substance. But just the right amount of assertion will show that you have the courage of your convictions, and are willing to offer them to others.


Now comes the Weakness compass point, the place where your social anxiety can serve a good purpose. A certain amount of anxiety is helpful to us when we prepare a speech. It keeps us mindful that we don't want to bore people, prattle on about nothing of consequence, or ramble without making clear points. In other words, anxiety keeps us humble, knowing that we cannot deliver a perfect speech, but a "good enough" speech will do fine.


Last we experience a dose of the Strength compass point both when we're practicing our speech behind closed doors, and then again while we are delivering. You can feel confident that your mind won't go blank, because you have notes right in front of you. You can feel adequate that you won't put your foot in your mouth, because you will carefully follow a well-edited outline. You can anticipate the achievement of success, picturing that as soon as you uttered your first sentence, your unconscious will help you carry out the speech you've prepared and rehearsed.


Naturally, the first few times you put together these rhythmic compass elements in the direct encounter of a live speech, you have a few hems and haws, a jumpy transitions, just like everyone else in the world does. But before long, these balancing points of a healthy Self Compass will  empower you to deliver intriguing and informative speeches, no matter how much public speaking fear you used to have!

I know. In high school and college I couldn't raise my hand in class with turning bright red, and I couldn't speak in class without my mind going blank. But with the help of compass principles, this gradually turned around so that I've spoken to thousands of people in groups, and millions of people on radio and television programs. I don't even break a sweat, because long ago my unconscious replaced my old terror of public speaking with Love for my audience, Assertion in expressing my point of view, Weakness that reflects humility about my limitations, and Strength in anticipating the satisfaction of a successful speech that brings new friends into my life.

Don't worry. The Self Compass will work for you, too. Add a little dose of prayer for transformation inner weakness into strength — and you're on the road to speaking success. I'm absolutely sure of it!

For more about turning your fear of life and people 
into faith in your self, God, and others, read: 

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