I was invited to be a co-trainer by an external speech training academy recently. Attending the briefing, was an eye opener. In the briefing, the program coordinators and main trainers were busy “selling” the idea, that their framework and methodology works. They cited the number of past experiences where students were able to speak publicly efficiently. I was drowning in the amount of technicalities, methodologies, frameworks and activities based examples.
One of the program’s coordinator’s comment made me sit up and reflect. She said, “We don’t care about the student’s ideas and thoughts quality. We are more interested in making sure they follow the framework and be able to speak.”
I do not know about you, but quality matters. Especially if the quality of your presentation skills will reflect your inner game.
Over the past decade of coaching and helping clients with their public speaking skills, I realize one crucial truth. People generally are more scared of letting their inner thoughts being out in the open, than the act of speaking itself. There is this part of your inner self that says,”Do not say this and that!”
As a result, the act of speaking those thoughts, becomes paralyzing. Cause you and I fear, that one response. Judgement. We become fearful by this question,”What will people think of me?”
School programs and public speaking courses these days focus a lot on techniques and frameworks. Although there is nothing significantly wrong about it, the emphasis detracts the whole process. That public speaking is just a manner of expression. A platform for saying things. Children these days are taught the “how” and “what” of public speaking, yet we carelessly forget the “why” behind the act itself.
Much of it boils down to the way we assess competencies. Because we are so fixated with rubrics and assessments, we are somehow characterizing speaking into forms of checkboxes.
Try Private Conversations
In most of my coaching engagements, I focus a lot on addressing my client’s or coachee’s needs for learning effective presentation skills. More importantly, before I dwell on the possible working solutions, I will ask :
- Are you intending to express or impress?
- Why is that important to you?
The reason as to why I need to sort this out in the initial coaching process, is for me to focus on his primary drive. Cause knowing that information will allow the client and myself. to know specifically, where to start.
After this, I will then guide my client in having a private conversation with himself. To put himself through a rigorous amount of questions. Uncomfortable questions sometimes. This will allow him to form what I will call, “Clarity and Security”.
He must be clear about what he wishes to express.
He must feel secure in knowing why he can express those thoughts are.
Only after this thoughts processes are in place, can we then work on the form and manner by which he can express himself. Cause these days, public speaking can be expressed via so many channels…
- FB/IG Live
And competencies are really the least in terms of importance and validity. People are more inclined to listen to someone who stutters his way through a video, yet having the clarity of thoughts and the security of assurance in what he is saying. That’s just the way we are receiving information these days.
Public speaking excellence while valid, is not the numero uno prerequisite anymore. With enough practice, anyone can deliver a public presentation. Having a private conversation with yourself is so much more important. It will define the quality of your presentation.