Back in 1998, I was invited to a conference in Helsinki, Finland. The conference manager suddenly realized he had not thought about who would lead the first meeting, as he approached me with those wide blank eyes, I knew what was awaiting me; “Can you lead the meeting please?”, he asked. Around 400 people were excitingly waiting for the meeting to start. Without hesitation I said: "Yes, I can". I thought I was going to die, not having prepared, but actually had to improvise the whole meeting. I got up to the platform and acted as if I had known about my role at least few months in advance. The feedbacks I received were amazingly positive. My role had shifted from only being a participant in the conference to actually becoming one of the main speakers and leaders during the week of the conference.
Several times have I experienced similar situations. I probably end up in these sort of settings due to my personality of not saying no, even though I know I am dead scared, but I say Yes, because I know I wont die of it.
I was impressed by how the toast master at the 60th birthday party actually handled the whole evening making people relax, laugh and enjoy each others company. He was authentic in his attitude, but also professional. I believe this is the secret to the art of giving a speech which is interesting, fun and professional.
One of the biggest phobias people often hold is to talk in public. The phobia can be so extreme that certain people actually loose out on carrier opportunities. Speech phobia is a taboo subject in companies to talk about. If you are a leader or manager you are supposed to be up on the stage talking freely to hundreds of people. However, this is not always the case for many leaders.
I have had the privilege of growing up with parents who both have been leaders and talked in front of hundreds of people. Since my childhood I was encouraged to “get up there” on the stage and talk to the masses. Not everyone has had the same training and coaching from their parents, therefore we need to learn them in later adulthood.
Majority of people do not use their maximum potential in life due to being scared of talking to the masses or expressing their opinions in meetings. I have trained several in overcoming their speech phobias, this is not to say it is easy. Neither am I saying that every time I am speaking up that I am not scared at all. Every single time I feel the adrenalin kicking its way up, but I believe I have learned and learning constantly the ways of dealing with the positive adrenalin kicks.
The 60th birthday dinner turned out to be a fabulous party with people being at ease and laughing, this was thanks to the toastmaster who knew the art of holding a good speech going!
You can book an coaching session with me on overcoming your public speaking anxieties. Remember that some of the greatest leaders have had the same coaching and training like you might now need in your life and career.
Elham Binai has been speaking in various conferences, seminars and gatherings. She is often chosen as the “speaker” of a groups opinion. She is perceived to be brave and well articulated, but she as many others has had to overcome her fears of public speaking and expressing opinion.
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