We had our Open House last night for our speech and debate club, Monumentum. About a dozen new families showed up. Great people, and we’re looking forward to getting to know them better as we bring their kids through the exciting world of competitive speaking.
People avoid public speaking at all costs, fearing it more than death. Wendy and I have ventured out to speak (see our speakers page here), each time fearful of the prospect, but also grateful we made the plunge.
Is public speaking a fear you’d like to overcome? If you’re serious, I have three ideas for you that you can start applying right away to work toward a fearlessness of speaking. And if you’re really serious, I have a way for you to save $100 on a professional retreat with Ken Davis. Read on, my friend, and conquer your fears!
1. Commit it!
In other words, take advantage of the VERY NEXT opportunity to speak. No excuses.
You don’t have to be hired by the Improv, you know. Public speaking can be as casual as sharing at a small group Bible study or speaking in front of church. The point is: get in front of people with a central purpose in your mind. Take the challenge seriously. If someone asks you to share, say, “I’d love to!” Then move onto the next step.
My students prepare for competition, but I tell them to also seek out opportunities to speak in the public square. Here’s something I tell them often, “Never turn down the opportunity to speak.” Dive in, bend over backwards to make it happen. Commit to the speaking and start preparing. Don’t settle on the fear that may disuade us from sharing the passions of our heart with others. Commit to the opportunity. It’s worth it!
2. KISS it!
Too often we want to be the hotshot in the room, the best rhetorician on the planet, a regular Zig Ziglar or John Maxwell. Truth is, few of us are. We’d be much more successful if we “Kept It Simple, Stupid.” Maybe even “Keep It Simple and Stupid.” Well, maybe not, but let me explain.
Write your speech like an old-fashioned term paper. You know how a term paper is organized: Intro, three points, conclusion. That’s basically how the human brain accepts information. A, B1, B2, B3, C. Simple. Almost stupidly simple. You may think you’re insulting the intelligence of your audience, but you’re not! You are respecting their humanity and understanding how they receive information. Keep your speech in this simple format, and you’ll be surprised at the positive feedback.
3. Continue it!
Seek honest feedback, and ask your audience for more opportunities. Every time Wendy or I speak, we do this. I send out an email with a Google Form attached, and we read through this feedback with great care. Every speaker should desire to get better. In fact, I’d bet you that Ziglar and Maxwell took critiques very seriously.
I don’t know those guys, but I know Ken Davis. He’s become a friend of mine and has helped coach both Wendy and me in the arts of public speaking. He shares a funny story of when he let some profanities out to be funny in his English class in high school. The teacher punished him by making him go out for speech. Ken thought he’d be teased for not being a cool jock (“I’m NOT going to have a pair of lips pinned to my letter jacket!” he jokes). But going out for competitive speech was the start of an entire career in comedy and storytelling. He’s now 65 touring the world with a powerful message to live Fully Alive!
The point is: continue speaking. Don’t stop. You’ll find that the fears you have now are paper dragons: they’re easy to pound through. The more you speak, the more you grow comfortable with it, and the better you become.
You may want to spend similar time with Ken and his team of fine coaches. He has a seminar in Vale, Colorado, coming up in October. It’s called the SCORRE Conference. SCORRE is a speaking method similar to the basic one I gave you above (point B), but Ken and his team go into much greater detail. You’re a part of a group for the entire time with individual coaching and teaching sessions tailored to your development. It’s intense training that – if you’re serious – will surely bring fruitful results.
And you can save $100 if you use a special code! Use the coupon code “JEUB” and you’ll see $100 drop from the total price.
Then contact us and let us know you’re going. We’d love to encourage you. This fear of public speaking is a mountain to move, and we’d consider it our honor to pray your through it.