Public speaking is a sneaky beast. You think it’s about speaking but it's about more than that. It challenges us to be really clear about our values (amongst other things). Questions need answering like: “Why am I saying this?”, “Who am I when I stand up?”. The act of answering those questions can be really useful. For some people they can have a profound effect on their lives. “What’s important to me?" often comes up for people on my courses. Answering that question out loud, in front of people, is very different to just thinking about this in our heads. It has far more power. We need to be prepared to take the risk that people might disagree with us. Or, more strangely, be surprised to hear out loud what we say about ourselves.
Two years ago, a course participant discovered that she couldn’t stay with her company after she spoke about what was important to her. It wasn’t a question that she’d asked herself before. It turns out there wasn’t a close fit between what the company valued and what she did. All because she was preparing to do a speech (and the company was paying! - sorry boss). Sometimes speech preparation can produce awkward answers!
Great speakers are usually comfortable with themselves, in their own body and with their own values. They exhibit fearlessness, which is not about the lack of adrenal squeeze but more about not being afraid of who they are. They have uncovered what really matters.
“Courage is not the absence of fear but the realization that there is something more important”.
Victor Frankl’s words beg a powerful question.
What’s more important to you than fear?