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fear of speaking in public

Here is an image of some sweet pea I grew in my garden.

Why are we fearful of speaking in public Sweet Pea metaphor

Like lots of people, I have developed an increased interest in gardening during the’ P’.   I am fed up saying that word and I’m very much looking forward to writing articles that do not contain some reference to you know what!  

The reason I mentioned the sweet pea is as a metaphor for what I do daily.  

I help people grow, blossom, and show their full range of colours when conversing with people, be it to an audience of one, five, fifty or five hundred. 

Why are we fearful of speaking in public? 

There is no definitive answer, but the fear of being critiqued is one of the many reasons people provide by way of explanation. 

Recently I overheard this conversation between a mother and the golf coach of her young son.  

The question the anxious mother asked was, “How is Johnny coming along?”.  

Reply from the coach: “He is much improved but do not tell him I said that”.  

Why not? Why are people always inclined to point out what is wrong instead of commenting on what is right. 

When I was training to be a coach some 25 years ago, I was lucky to be coached by a man whose advice to me as follows. 

“If you cannot find the good in people, it’s your failing, not theirs.” 

This advice has been my guiding light ever since. 

Your role as a coach: 

When coaching people to present or for that matter any other task, it would appear to me that the inclination is to point out what is wrong, with the hope of improving the situation. 

As a child: 

Sit up straight, eat with your mouth closed, do not fidget, don’t mumble, speak clearly. Does that sound familiar? 

As a manager: 

How many times have we heard sports commentators say at halftime in a game when the team were playing poorly, “the manager will have to give them a good B*********”.  

Nothing could be further from the truth. What great leaders do is remind the key players in the team of how they have been successful in the past and are capable of replication that success in the second half.  

This method is much more likely to achieve the required results.  

As a Leader: 

Are you more likely to speak about what needs to change instead of talking about what the person did well and then suggesting and agreeing on a couple of areas for improvement/modification? 

Finish this conversation by recapping the good work this person does and their essential role within the team. 

My role as a coach:  

I support people to find and tell a story that they believe, while encouraging them to share that story with friends, family, or for business reasons such as winning sales or investment. 

That belief and the increased confidence reduces the outward appearance of nervousness, such as speaking quickly, dry mouth moving about for no good reason, focusing on a spot on the ceiling, talking in a higher pitch voice than usual. 

My aim always is to help you find the STORY (pitch, presentation, speech, lecture, or sermon) you believe in and lots of the nervous traits listed above will vanish. 

We Irish are natural storytellers, and I can help you unlock your Crock of ‘Story Telling’ Gold.

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