Public Speaking Tips: Handling Bad Experience on Public Speaking
“When it comes to public speaking it’s so easy to let one horrific experience become our permanent benchmark against which to measure ourselves from then on. With the die firmly cast, this negative mindset of just how helpless we are at speaking before groups becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. Hey, we all have a bad experience now and then, but we tend to learn what ‘not to do’ next time. This insightful article will show you how to build on your speaking experiences in a positive way – be they good or bad…”
How to tackle your bad experience on public speaking? Check out the below article.
If you want to overcome stage fright and learn to speak with confidence, join a toastmasters club.
You are welcome to visit our Kampong Ubi Toastmasters Club if you are living in Singapore.
Public Speaking: Don’t Let a Bad Experience Define Your Speaking Potential!
By Laurie Smale
When it comes to public speaking, there are defining misfortunes that can haunt us for years. These disasters can literally define who we are as a speaker and set up ingrained habit patterns of speaking failure that become a self-fulfilling prophesy for years. Every time we feel threatened with a similar situation this defining experience creeps into our consciousness to remind us of the trauma that lies ahead and just how hopeless we are.
*Graham Skinner had always felt uneasy reading aloud in Primary school. In fact he managed to avoid doing anything in front of people right up to year ten, but this particular day there was no getting out of it. He had to deliver a talk on an article from the newspaper. “Skinner you’re next week’s speaker” he heard the teacher say. Absolute panic took hold of him. The mere thought of having to stand in front of the whole school at assembly terrified him. He told me that each night after that he’d lie awake in a cold sweat hoping it would just go away.
The night before his talk he realised he could avoid it no more. He sat down at the kitchen table and picked the smallest snippet he could find in the newspaper, stared long and hard at it, then put it in his pocket. This was the extent of his preparation.
He didn’t sleep at all that night. He remembers the next morning as a blur, that piece of paper burning in his pocket, a constant reminder of the terrible fate that awaited him. “As I sat in the front row I was shivering all over and just wanted to be somewhere else”, he told me later. He doesn’t remember much after that… standing at the lectern, feeling faint, and pitching forward. What did ring in his ears for years were the howls of uncontrollable laughter from his class mates as he hit the deck.
The pain and humiliation of this experience had etched itself so deeply within him that it literally ran his life. Yet with a little help to see things differently as an adult, Graham was able to recognise this awful experience for what it was – a task far beyond him without the necessary coaching and encouragement to be a success. He now knows he’s not alone in this. It would have happened to anyone in a similar situation with a similar unprepared mind. It simply wasn’t his fault so why should he let inadequate guidance and preparation brand him a hopeless public speaker for the rest of his life!
Habit patterns of speaking success. He twigged that he was no longer that frightened little boy. He had travelled the world and now managed a successful business. Graham was faced with a stark choice: keep travelling the fearful path he’d been unceremoniously dropped on to all those years ago, or see himself in a different light and start walking a new one where he can speak as the person rich in experience he now is. Graham chose to redefine himself and walk the new one.
After joining a caring public speaking club he now measures himself against ‘friendly’ habit patterns of speaking success instead of his past habit patterns of speaking failure. There comes a time when we must break the imprisoning moulds of yesterday and set ourselves free from the pain of circumstance and events hitherto beyond our control, for as we grow, our values, perceptions, and understandings are constantly changing. And, if we allow ourselves, we can learn from painful experiences and move on to new and exciting things… Hey, we all have a ‘bad hair’ day now and again, but it’s what we learn from it that counts!
Accept the inspiration of others. Some years ago, as guest speaker, I tentatively gave my first Rotary Club talk with the pretentious title: ‘The Getting of Wisdom.’ It was a woeful effort. No matter how hard I tried, I struggled to hold the attention of that 100-strong audience. The generous applause at the end was because I’d cut my talk short. I couldn’t get out of there quickly enough. But I didn’t chuck in the towel. I persevered. Six years later, I found myself doing a keynote talk for the National Speakers Association of Australia. At the end of my presentation a man walked up to me and said: “About 6 years ago I saw you give a talk at a Rotary Club that would have to be one of the worst talks I’ve ever seen in my life. Tonight would have to be one of the best. I thought you’d be interested to know that.”
So don’t let one bad public speaking incident haunt you for the rest of your life. Learn from it, then move on with the insights gained. Now free from this debilitating mould, as you grow you’ll be able to create a steady stream of positive benchmarks against which to measure your public speaking effectiveness and potential.
*Not his real name.
Laurie Smale is an inspirational speaker, author and Master Speech coach. He believes that real-life stories such as this are the secret to getting our ideas across effectively. Checkout his life-changing self-help products at http://www.panicfreepublicspeaking.com.au The added bonus is that with all his products and coaching you get Laurie as your personal email coach for life!
Copyright – Laurie Smale. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
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