Image of patient and therapist

FastUpFront Blog in their article, “Essential Public Speaking Tips for Non-Public Speakers,” wrote about the number one rule which is to be yourself. However, in order to be yourself, you have to know who you are. The question then becomes, where do you go to do this discovery?

As a psychologist, I believe you need safe learning environments to explore and develop yourself. So much of our social training growing up has been to hide our natural responses and put on a mask. No wonder when people stand in front of a group, they feel exposed and judged and afraid to be authentic.

Some Guidelines for Being Yourself

Everyone has talents and/or abilities that are unique to them. The first place to start is to get in touch with them. Some people are funny… Some people speak very clearly and logically… Some people are charismatic and can work up a crowd… Some people are sensitive and can feel where their audience is holding… Each one of these abilities can be used to connect with the people who have come to listen to you speak.”

  • Don’t try to be something you are not
  • Get to know your public speaking strengths and weaknesses
  • Where necessary compensate for weaknesses
  • Put more emphasis on building on your natural strengths and abilities

Speaking Circles…A Safe Learning Environment

In addition to the suggestions offered above by FastUpFront, consider joining a Speaking Circle, an interactive group process that focuses on the power of presence as opposed to content. In this rare kind of learning environment you are greeted by a group that listens without judgment.

The instruction is to be available and listen from the heart to the most positive and authentic essence qualities in each other. The feedback involves appreciation for the essential strengths that are apparent, whether the person speaks or not. There is absolutely no pressure to speak or perform.

When you take a turn knowing that you don’t have to meet expectations, fill up the space with words, or put on an act, you become free to explore who you really are. Your natural self, which is already being supported to come out, is revealed. Here is what one participant said…

I want to say a huge thank you for the incredible gift of holding such a safe and expansive space for us all and for the incredible love and acceptance that has allowed me to move through some very difficult ‘stuff’ … (breath!)

I loved that there was a chance to heal from within a very old pattern … and it just happened in that place out front… (breath!)

I feel an immense gratitude for the space, the time, and the opportunity to grow.

I lead Speaking Circles in Berkeley, CA. Look on the Speaking Circles website, to locate a Facilitator near you. Remember, you can develop the confidence to be fully yourself when speaking in public whether or not you are a professional.

Doreen’s Essential Speaking Tip:

You can begin your own personal journey of self-discovery by reading self-help books. Go to a library or just go online to find titles of books that you can order. There are workshops at your local community college or adult education programs just around the corner. In addition, you have the entire web as a resource for courses. In fact, I have an online program, The Fearless Speaking E-Course, that you can order and complete in the privacy of your own home. It’s a great place to start…just where you are now.

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