In the opening of a new year, it is normal to embrace the fresh start of a new opportunity to tackle the big goals of doing significant things, of crossing things off the bucket list, and most common of all doing something that is new and challenging. Stepping outside of our comfort zones is daunting. Especially, if you want to be paid for public speaking. It takes more mental effort to talk ourselves into getting off the couch and taking action towards our goals than it does to mentally talk ourselves out of taking action. Think about that for a second. If it takes you three hours of building yourself up to get off the couch and go for a walk or to get to a class, yet it only takes five seconds to convince yourself that you are fine just where you are at that moment then how will we ever become who we really truly want to be?
Tackling the fear of public speaking is the same as stepping into the gym for the first time. You walk into a room full of strangers who all seem to know what they are doing and they make it all look and sound so simple. “These people are experts on everything”, you might say to yourself at first blush, but all of these people have the same thing in common with you; they all started from zero just like you. The difference is that they started before you and have built up their experience in that time before you stepped through the door for the first visit. That’s it. There are zero secrets about how to become a better speaker or how to conquer that fear. It is a simple process of doing it over and over again until the fear is no longer a factor in deciding IF one should speak as opposed to becoming a question of WHAT will you speak about.
The key to taking that first step is finding a place to grow and hone your craft. The best way to do that is by following the advice in the article below. This post originally appeared on SpeakingPractically.com and it is a great first step in your journey to conquer that fear of Public Speaking.
New Year’s Resolution to Conquer the Fear of Public Speaking
There’s nothing quite like a new year to do a clean sweep and set out to accomplish new goals. Hence, the New Year’s Resolution!
If your New Year’s Resolution is to overcome your fear of public speaking, congratulations! That’s a great cause.
We know public speaking can help you personally and in your career, so well done for stepping up and addressing your fears!
Where to begin? For most people, I recommend finding and joining a Toastmasters club.
The Mission of a Toastmasters Club
According to the Toastmasters International website, the mission of a Toastmasters Club is:
“We provide a supportive and positive learning experience in which members are empowered to develop communication and leadership skills, resulting in greater self-confidence and personal growth.”
The key words to me are the “supportive and positive learning experience.”
It is that positive, supportive environment and the focus on communications that makes Toastmasters the number one recommendation in my mind.
I’ve been associated with the Toastmasters organization for over 16 years. I’ve seen the difference it can make in people who are fearful of public speaking.
It gives you a regular chance to speak in front of a small group of people. You can’t overcome your fear of public speaking without speaking publicly. Toastmasters gives you the venue to do that.
Additionally, the educational materials Toastmasters provides contain sound advice on how to develop and deliver a speech.
Additionally, you receive feedback on what you did well and recommendations about how you could make it better.
All these factors make for a winning combination.
Toastmasters is affordable
Because Toastmasters is a non-profit organization, the program is affordable for most people. The dues are paid every six months and vary by club (based on expenses for meeting space, etc.). Typically the investment is around $50 – $60 every six months. Compare that to a three-day presentation skills class which often runs at $1,500 and up; clearly Toastmasters is a better deal.
But more than just being a better deal, the drawback of a three-day course is that you only get to practice in front of an audience over three days. With Toastmasters, you have the opportunity to speak in some form every meeting. And most Toastmasters clubs meet weekly. Practicing a new skill over an extended period of time usually works better than trying to cram all the learning into a three-day course.
How to choose a Toastmasters Club
If you’re in a metropolitan area, you’ll probably have several large clubs to select from.
Go to this page of the Toastmasters website and search on the zip code near where you work or live. If a club has an “R” in a blue box beneath the location number in the search results, that club has a restriction on members. Most often, the restriction is that you have to work for the company that sponsors the club. Look for clubs without that “R” in a blue box.
Once you identify clubs near you, visit a few of the clubs near you. I recommend visiting two or three times before making the decision of which club to join. During your visit check to see…
- Does the time and day of the week work well with your schedule?
- Do you like the atmosphere, the experience, and the people that you see in the meetings?
Once you’re sure the club is a good fit for your schedule and your style, seek out their Vice President of Membership and find out what it takes to join the club.
When to hire a Speaking Coach rather than join a Toastmasters Club
Toastmasters works for most people who set a New Year’s Resolution to conquer their fear of public speaking.
But if you need to overcome your fear of public speaking because you’re in an executive position and need to address an important audience, consider contacting us to work with one of our coaches.
Toastmasters is a great setting to give you experience speaking in front of a group.
But if you have a critical presentation to make in front of an audience that could greatly influence the success of your endeavors, then you’re better off hiring one of our coaches to help you develop your presentation for your specific audience.
Toastmasters helps you with the skill. We help you reach your desired business outcome.
Contact Kelly Vandever today at 770-597-1108 if coaching is what you really need.
Good Luck and May Overcoming Your Fear of Public Speaking Be the New Year’s Resolution You Actually Keep!!
Kelly Vandever is a leadership and communications expert who helps leaders and organizations thrive in today’s attention-deficit, entertain-me-now, wait-while-I-post-that-on-Facebook world. Learn how opening up and speaking practically can bring you better business results. Connect Kelly by phone at 770-597-1108, email her at Kelly.Vandever @ SpeakingPractically.com or tweet her @KellyVandever.