The early months of this year were full with the launch of Transformational Speaking–Online! So my article today is about one of the challenges we address throughout the course: the fear of speaking. Be sure to continue reading as there is a short video to help you center yourself on the spot!
Sometimes we stop ourselves from speaking our truth because fear rises up and shuts us down. You’ve heard it said that public speaking is our number one fear. After experiencing this myself for more than half my life, I was pleased to learn that Buddhism lists five top human fears, and “fear of speaking in front of a public assembly” is only the fifth.
Foretellings from many cultures point to 2012 as the time when we pass from an old world and way of being to a new time on planet earth. While we can recognize the economic, political and cultural turmoil around us as fundamental to this dynamic shift, and ultimately a good thing, it’s easy to shut down internally to try to ride out the storm. We want change, in fact for those of you reading this, you are likely one of those working for change. And now that it is happening in so many of the fundamental systems on which we have built our way of life, there’s a tendency to say, “Wait a minute. Not so fast! I haven’t learned how to keep up!”
It is no longer possible to stabilize our lives by managing time. Consider how we speak of time. Make time. Spend time. Save time. Invest time. And, of course, Time is money. The alternative is to learn to feel time and to manage our energy. When I say “feel time” I’m speaking of recognizing and respecting the internal currents that for each of us constitute a rhythm that allows us to operate from our wisdom and knowing, even in the midst of crisis and volatility and outer demands. It changes at different stages of our lives and, when we ignore the needs of our bodies, we risk showing up without a full heart. Continue reading
“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul alike.” – John Muir
Once a man I loved wondered why I didn’t want to move into his ratty little house. He felt that love should prevail even if I didn’t like the place. When I told my sister about it, she commented, “You should tell him you grew up in a family that would spend two hours picking out a campsite.” Continue reading
The Alchemy of Change: Understanding the Obama Phenomenon – and applying it to your speaking success
The Democratic National Convention in 2004 marked the historic speech that brought first-term senator Barack Obama of Illinois to national attention. Four years later his name and image are center stage and his capacity to touch people through speaking has led him all the way to the Oval Office. Obama understands something few speakers grasp: good information and delivery is not enough to be great. The capacity to inspire is where real change originates.
Obama’s presidential campaign inspired a previously silent majority to vote, signaling that “politics as usual” was in for a wild ride. The early Iowa primary heralded the beginning of young people and independents deciding it was time to have a voice in the governance of the United States. As we witnessed this man’s compelling message telling us that nothing can stand in the way of millions of voices calling for change, his words rang true: “There is nothing false about hope.” Continue reading
“Take care of the children, for they have a long way to go.
Take care of the elders, for they have come a long way.
Take care of those in between, for they are doing the work.” – African Proverb
Yesterday I received a voice message from a friend and colleague whom I had asked if I might stay at her home during an upcoming conference. She expressed sheer delight that she had reached my message system instead of me so she didn’t have to have one more conversation. As for my request to stay at her home, she responded that she “could not get in touch with a yes” because she was in a place of “drastic over-interaction.” She explained that she needed to be fiercely protective of her time and space to be personally sustainable and suggested I come in a day early for the conference for quality time together and then book a room. Continue reading
“Fear is merely excitement without the breath.” So stated the legendary psychiatrist Fritz Perls.
So when Sankara Saranam, founder of the Pranayama Institute, attended Real Speaking, I asked him to develop some breathing exercises for speakers. I tried his suggestions below and found them remarkable tools for becoming more present and focused.
Here are three simple yet highly effective methods to gain focus and utilize nervousness to one’s benefit before public speaking. These methods can also be used before meeting someone, to regain composure in a tense moment, or simply as a meditative exercise in the morning and evening by closing the eyes and directing the attention upward toward the brain, especially with every inhalation. Continue reading