I don’t want you to work so hard at public speaking. Consider opening to the experience that public speaking doesn’t have to be so hard and that you don’t have to work so hard to connect with listeners.
I have this new battery operated toothbrush that does all the work for me. But I was brushing my teeth last week and noticed that I was still trying to work hard at brushing my teeth instead of letting the toothbrush do the work for me. Working too hard at things has been a life-long issue for me. I think if I’m not working hard, I am not achieving anything. So, when I caught myself working to brush my teeth, I just stopped and let the toothbrush do the work. That left me with not so much to do but stand there and relax into having my teeth brushed. I was able to drop into a more relaxed state of presence where I could feel myself breathing…and just be.
It is kind of like that in public speaking. We think we have to be working so hard to push our energy out to listeners to make connection with people. We think we have to be performing for others in order to capture their attention. But, all we really have to do is relax, be present, drop down into our skin and receive the flow of attention from the audience. Take in their attention as supportive energy and talk with them as though we are talking one to one with them. When we stop and just be with them, it becomes so much easier to speak to groups. The magic of your human spirit in connection with others takes over and does the work.
I was at a wonderful After Hours Networking event last night sponsored by Jon King. Everyone there seems to be so extraverted. No one is afraid to speak up and introduce themselves. But the host asked people to introduce themselves in 10 seconds, so everyone talked so fast to try to say all they wanted to say. Most everyone had to go up in their heads and push energy from their heads to make themselves talk faster. Listening to them introduce themselves left me breathless as if I were running a race. I wanted to ask them to slow down and breathe and connect. They were just working too hard!
Then there was one woman who said she was a playwright who had obviously been trained in the theatre who just slowed down and talked. She was the one person who really connected. She did not work at speaking; she just spoke from her heart. Wow!
Next time you have to speak to a group meeting or give a talk, try to not work so hard. Try to be with one person at a time, receiving the attention from each one and responding back to each person as you talk. It will feel like putting the kick-stand down on your bike and resting in place at the center of attention and just hanging out with your listeners.