I speak twice a year (and even then I try to avoid it) – why don’t the nerves go away and why don’t I get any better?

Imagine you were just about to learn how to surf. ( if you are already an experienced surfer, then I am happy for you to comment on the accuracy of my analogy)

You slip into your wet suit (doesn’t that make it sound easy!), grab your board and march determinedly towards the open sea. You observe the incoming waves with some trepidation and wonder what you need to do next. How hard can this be – there are others out there riding the waves with apparent ease and it looks amazing, almost easy.

You swim out with your board and then try to stand on the board. You fall in. and again. And yet again. You get up,,,and fall in. You get up and stand up..and fall in…and so on.

Do you give up? Do you take lessons? Do you persevere?

If you only go surfing two days a year, it is likely that you’ll make little improvement and if there are gaps in your surfing adventures (six months say), then it is probable that you’ll have to start right at the beginning again.

And so it is with speaking. Good presenters make it look easy but their confidence belies the skills they have learned (with practice, through training or through experience). When you start speaking there will be times when it won’t work, when things go wrong, when you reflect that it could have gone much better.

Do you give up? Do you take lessons? Do you persevere?

If you only speak twice a year, say, and there are gaps in your presenting adventures (six months say) that it is probable that you’ll have to start right at the beginning again.  Regular speaking builds skill but it also helps to soothe those nerves. Regular speaking tames the nerves and makes that adrenaline work for you. Regular speaking means you get better.

How can you speak more regularly? One client of mine introduced regular team briefings so that he and his team could get better at addressing each other – in a safe environment. Another client uses networking as a regular opportunity to speak up even if it only for a minute! Another one volunteers to speak as a guest expert in the community and to other departments when the opportunity arises.

You can read all the books you like, watch all the videos and talk about speaking in public – but the only way you’ll get better is to do it!

, ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply