Book cover for Essential Speaking: The 7 Step Guide to Finding Your Real Voice by Doreen Downing, Ph.D.,

My book on speaking, Essential Speaking: The 7-Step Guide to Finding Your Real Voice grew out of a class I had been teaching in San Francisco. In early 2000, I opened the catalog of courses offered at the Learning Annex where I was a teacher, and my eye caught the title of a new program, “7 Steps to Fearless Speaking.”

Course Confusion

I was stunned because I had been teaching a class there titled, “How to Overcome your Fear of Public Speaking.” Since my students typically raved about the breakthroughs and the life transformation they experienced in my class, I wondered why another instructor had been hired to conduct a program so similar to mine.

Then, reading further, I saw that I was listed as the teacher of the new “7 Steps to Fearless Speaking” course. Changing the title had been a marketing decision, and the director assumed I would go along with it.

I needed to decide if and how I could restructure a program I had already been doing for eight years. I was attached to my design, and I was certain of the success of what I had offered. I questioned how to break my program into seven steps.

New Possibilities

The challenge of redoing my program turned out to be the opportunity that opened a new door. I reorganized my course content into the seven steps that were promised in the catalog and, in the process, discovered a format that has now helped thousands of people

  • overcome stage fright
  • learn to be themselves without fear
  • speak with confidence in front of others

The redesign of my course led to the title of my book, Essential Speaking: The 7-Step Guide to Finding Your Real Voice. Now people all over the world can have access to a system that will transform the fear of speaking into confident self-expression.

Doreen’s Essential Speaking Tip:

The 7-Step guide that is offered in my book is based on presence and connection. If you have a mindfulness practice such as meditation then you can apply what you gain there to the world of speaking. Imagine being in the here and now, letting your thoughts go, taking full deep breaths, and from an empty space where words don’t exist begin to listen to the words that might arise. You can write them or share them with a friend.

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