Welcome to Speech Class.
Are those the two scariest words you’ve heard this week?
A factoid that’s been floating around the Internet claims that people fear public speaking more than death. Technically, no one’s ever done that research. A writer made that up for an article.
But it can feel like you’re going to die when you think about stepping up on to a stage where everyone is going to be looking at you and judging everything that comes out of your mouth.
Let’s break that down a bit.
Going to Die
You’re not going to die. I promise. I know CPR and how to call 911. I will keep you alive until the emergency squad gets here.
Seriously… all those crazy things your body does when you think about getting up and giving a speech are natural and to a great extent, predetermined. You’ve been designed to deal with stress in one of three ways:
- Fight The instinct to protect yourself is strong, almost undefeatable. For those who have the tendency toward fight, stress will come out in seemingly violent ways.
- Flight The inclination to run away is normal. Stress comes when the body feels like it’s at risk and it’s programmed to get outta there when the stress gets too overwhelming.
- Stink. Our bodies will do… odiferous things to discourage the source of the pressure from putting any more stress on us. We sweat. We get an upset stomach that wants to vomit, emit gas, or otherwise produce stinky stuff.
Once you understand what your normal reaction to stress is, then we can deal with it. You can learn to use that stress to become a better speaker.
Stepping on the Stage
At some point, you will be speaking to a group of people when you’re in the speech class. If you don’t get up to give a speech, then you’ll never learn the number one truth about public speaking. (I can’t tell you that yet, but you’ll find out.)
Everyone’s Looking at You
Yes, they will be looking at you. If you know that from the start, it will help you understand the importance of how you present yourself. How you look. How you’ve prepared.
In the speech class, we will get you prepared for presentations, including how you look.
Judging Everything that Comes Out of Your Mouth
This is the most important thing I have to teach you today – before we even start our first speech class.
We are not judging you.
The time you spend in this speech class is the place where you are permitted to try new things. Try hard things. Fall down. Fail to accomplish what you want.
We all are here to improve. Everyone is going to make mistakes. Do something spectacularly wrong. Have a speech go wrong in five different ways.
Yes, you’ll get a grade. But if you go up there and give it everything you’ve got, you will not fail.
I promise. I’m the teacher, so I can do that.
What If… I’m Not Afraid?
But don’t be surprised if you do get nervous. No one can predict what they’re going to do or how they’re going to react under pressure for the first time or the tenth time. Stay cool and learn from it.
Tell me about a fear you had as a child and how you overcame it. Or tell me about a time that something scary happened to you and how that has an impact on you now. (Minimum 100 words.)