Tiffany Toor, Lead Speaking Center Coach
“Anything that you learn becomes your wealth, a wealth that cannot be taken away from you; whether you learn it in a building called school or in the school of life. To learn something new is a timeless pleasure and a valuable treasure. And not all things that you learn are taught to you, but many things that you learn you realize you have taught yourself.” –C. JoyBell C.
I use this quote to define learning as a system of personally growing and developing. Learning, much like growth and development, is a very personalized process and although we learn in various ways from various different people, we also learn from ourselves. Most importantly, through learning from ourselves, we learn about ourselves.
As a Speaking Center Coach, I find it very important to constantly learn from myself. Each and every coaching session provides me with the opportunity to think about what went well and what can be improved. In other words, I always reflect on which aspects of the session were valuable to the student, as well as what was not as effective. Through doing this, I learn about what I should continue doing in my coaching sessions and what I should try to change about my coaching style, which becomes a valuable tool for every subsequent appointment.
Additionally, this method of reflecting on what went well and what can be improved after every appointment is something I try to extend to each of the students I coach. I notice that one of the most common concerns of students is the anxiety they feel regarding public speaking. When it comes to tackling the apprehension of public speaking, one of the most useful techniques is to use self-reflection to learn more about yourself. By learning about your individual speaking style, the task of giving a public speech becomes far more comfortable since you already know what works well for you and what does not. This leads to an overall increase in confidence as a speaker.
To break down the concept of learning more about yourself as a means to reduce public speaking anxiety, try to keep in mind the following tip the next time you prepare for a speech: Practice actively!
To actively practice a speech means to stand up and say your speech out loud, preferably with someone watching you. At the end of running through the speech, ask yourself what content of the speech you feel you know, and what content of the speech you need to work on learning more. By mastering the content of your speech you instantly become less nervous to share your ideas in front of an audience, because the better you know your content, the easier it is to explain it to someone else.
Additionally, you can ask someone to watch you as you practice and point out any distracting mannerisms you may have had while presenting. You can then apply that knowledge in future speeches. For example, it was once pointed out to me that I would always play with my hair while presenting a speech. By learning what distracting mannerism I have, it allowed me to find ways to correct it. After learning this about myself, I make sure to always have my hair tied up any time I am giving a speech. Similarly, use active practicing to learn about yourself and then apply that knowledge to ensure you feel more confident going into your speech.
In conclusion, learning about yourself is one of the best ways to tackle public speaking anxiety. By knowing what works well for you and what does not, leads to feeling more confident at the time of your speech. Ultimately, the more confident you feel, the more confident you will present yourself and come across as.