When you want to see your appearance, you look in the mirror. When you would like to see the inner you, what should you do?
After 10 years of instructing Public Speaking, during this time I have met thousands of people who easily express their ideas when speaking to one person or in small groups. Their interpersonal communication skills are witnessed through their flawless use of body language, vocal variety and well organized ideas.
An unwanted transition occurs when their small group conversations become large group verbal presentations. Their bodies are no longer comfortable—they move back and forth or swing side to side. They unconsciously move their hands and arms without attention to their purpose. They fall into all of the mistakes associated with novice speakers. They don’t dare to look at the audience, instead, they make eye-contact with the ceiling or the floor.
Why is there a big change from the flawless performance of communicating in a small group to a poor performance expressing ideas in a large group?
In search of an answer I often ask my Public Speaking students that question. What goes through a person’s mind, while standing alone in front of a large group of people who expect a notable presentation? How is speaking to many people, different than speaking to a few?
University researchers have conducted many studies to understand the reasons why people are afraid of Public Speaking. The general conclusion is that each person has a different reason to fear public speaking. But how can a person, who is intimidated by public speaking, discover the root cause of his/her particular fear?
After conducting Public Speaking training for more than 4,000 learners, I discovered one method to help learners uncover the root cause of their fear. This discovery can be explained through a short story. Many years ago I joined a Public Speaking contest. I was scared, actually I was frightened to stand alone on a stage with hundreds of eyes focused on my every movement. At least that was the thought running through my mind which caused me to completely forget what I was about to say. Hundreds of people were looking at me as if I did something wrong. I didn’t know what to say, what to do, so I froze, in silence. Even though my episode lasted seconds, it felt like it would never end.
When I returned home from that terrible experience, I kept thinking about the reasons why I was so frightened. I had not experienced that much fear for any reason in my life. Self-reflection helped me to realize that the main reason I was so frightened was because of an unrealistic fear about people’s judgement. I was afraid that if my speaking performance was not acceptable, the audience might view me as a fool. I was afraid that they might negatively judge me.
Personal revelations rarely come easy. It took me years to understand the reason for this one-time failure of public speaking. Inner reflection or meditation provided me with the opportunity to practice mindfulness and meditation to look within myself, and discover the root cause of my fear.
When you want to know your appearance, you look in the mirror. When you want to know who you are, I believe Public Speaking combined with meditation, is the right combination of talents needed for each person to reach the highest form of personal understanding.
When I see myself at the age of 30s, I am a meditator...