What Is Public Speaking?
And around this time, the definition of public speaking deserves an evolution.
How do you currently picture public speaking?
‘A talk that involves a speaker & an audience.’
I like that definition.
But it can be better.
The way we make it better is by making this definition more inclusive of other life experiences.
And by stretching the definition of public speaking, the tension regarding speeches fades away.
Speech anxiety melts when the perception is enhanced.
What is the new definition of public speaking?
Public Speaking in Modern Times
My definition of public speaking is:
Anytime that you are speaking in public.
‘Hm…I don’t really like that.’
I wouldn’t either, at first. But hear me out.
There are a lot of life experiences where we are speaking in public.
Where another party other than ourselves is involved.
Uber, work meetings, conversations, etc.
Just a few examples.
Well, with the definition of, ‘anytime you speak in public’, you include those experiences under the umbrella of public speaking.
This leads to more confidence when you are called on stage.
Conquering Speech Anxiety
‘I see what you’re saying, Armani. But isn’t this wishful thinking?’
During my time at Toastmasters, I saw a lot of reasons as to why people had speech anxiety.
Sometimes, it was due to not feeling confident regarding the topic.
Other times, it was because they didn’t prepare.
And many times, it was because they felt like they didn’t have much public speaking experience.
This may be the reason for a lot of people’s nerves.
The fact that they think they do not belong on stage.
And this ‘fact’ is causing them to quit the race even before they begin.
This is a case of you trying to get your first job.
But the employer wants to know your past job experiences.
How are you going to have past experience when you are trying to get experience in the first place??
Micro to Macro
Imagine that I tell you to start practicing gratitude.
So you do it.
But the only wins you count are the VERY big wins.
Will you be better off, over time?
‘I think so.’
Well, I don’t think so.
I believe over time, you will condition further anxiety.
You’re conditioning your mind to only be happy for BIG wins.
And this will lead you to overlook small wins which led to the big win.
Somehow, you’ll feel like you’re never enough…
On the flip side, I tell you to only count your small wins, for now.
And then I leave you to yourself for a few weeks.
In this situation, the mind will become highly creative.
You’ll bring conscious awareness to wins you never even acknowledged before.
This allows the brain to be grateful for the big wins on autopilot.
It’s because you built the brain up thru atomic reps.
And the atomic reps influenced the macro.
This is a similar analogy with redefining public speaking to include the small reps too.
If you are speaking in public, then you are public speaking.
Viewing Public Speaking as a Gradient
A gradient is much different than black & white colors.
Gradient allows for flexibility.
It’s not as though we throw away the old-school definition of speaking in front of an audience.
That’s still present.
However, that’s just one of the parts of the gradient.
Other parts include conversations, work meetings, talking to friends, talking to strangers, etc.
This gradient blends the world of public speaking with the world of social skills.
A beautiful blending by the way.
I’ve seen plenty of charismatic people who had severe speech anxiety.
They were good in terms of social skills, but fell flat on the stage.
It’s because they compartmentalized the 2 worlds.
By blending the world of public speaking with social skills, parallels are capable of being drawn.
Why are parallels important?
Because it allows us to make sense of our experiences.
Back to you applying for that FIRST job.
Although you tell your potential employer that you never had a formal job…
You tell him that you ran a business.
A lemonade stand that generated revenue, sales & profit.
A stand where you created the product, marketed the product, sold it & even hired people.
Your 2 younger sisters count as hired talent.
This may allow the potential employer to see you as a go-getter.
A creative fellow who CREATES opportunities.
And who knows, you may get the job.
Practice Public Speaking
In order for the generalized definition to lead to practical benefits…
It’s all about practicing & making yourself aware of the practicing.
Just having a chat with the Uber driver is not enough.
It’s important to remind yourself that this IS a form of public speaking.
As awareness is bought to the act, the brain wires & fires differently.
The perception is being rewired.
After the Uber ride, your manager calls & says that you have to give a presentation at work this Wednesday.
Now, you’re not automatically panicking.
A part of you thinks:
‘I just did some public speaking for 20 minutes. What’re another 20 minutes in a different setting?’
The brain takes some conditioning to get bold like that.
But with proper practice, the brain sure does become bold.
Tackle Public Speaking Fears
Words impact perception.
And a fast way to have anxiety is to misuse words.
Words eventually serve as software for the mind.
And if the software is not being updated, then buddy, you’re in trouble.
Imagine if you see someone rocking an iPhone 2 in 2021.
You’ll probably laugh them out of the building.
Well, laugh yourself out of the building too if definitions are not being modified in an everchanging system.
The world slows down for no one.
As the world becomes more interconnected, intrapersonal skills will be more important than ever.
From giving speeches to a live audience to giving a virtual presentation at the Zoom meeting.
Public speaking is public speaking.
Prime your mind for the big moment by continuously bringing awareness to the small moments.
It starts off as atoms.
It starts off as micro.
But as time elapses, it’s the micro increments that lead to macro changes.
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