Grace Under Pressure: A Masterclass in Public Speaking

Grace Under Pressure: A Masterclass in Public Speaking

About the Author Lisa holds a master’s degree in voice and speech pedagogy from the Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London. Lisa has been featured as a public speaking expert in TIME, the Wall Street Journal, and the L.A. Daily Journal, among others. Lisa regularly coaches executives and managers from Fortune 500 companies and the non-profit sector. Lisa lives near Napa and Davis, California. Read more Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved. Developing into an eloquent speaker is more than a matter of acquiring practical techniques or following a template for success. In order to become a great speaker, we go on a path that may reveal aspects of ourselves we have not explored with much depth. We develop as people. We enter a process to embody the qualities we seek or admire. We also, literally, find our voice and explore its capacity to share our message and to connect with our audience.We are born communicators. From the very beginning, we express ourselves with our sounds, words, tones, movements and gestures. Consider for a moment the qualities most children have when they first begin to speak. They are honest, authentic, uninhibited and fearless. It’s their need to be heard and understood that drives them to communicate. Being liked or agreed with is secondary until parenting and societal influences make a child second guess themselves. I’m making this point because so many people believe they do not have what it takes to be a great speaker. When you realize you already possess the core qualities you seek, then the real question is how to address the psychological or physical obstacles that may stand in your way and how to train as a public speaker.In other words, the elements employed by a public speaker are already present, already a part of who we are. With training, we bring greater awareness to what we already know. Like putting a computer into developer mode, when we train we take ourselves off autopilot to bring our raw, innate abilities to a level of confident skill. At the same time, we eliminate the habits that don’t help us reach our goals.When you see a great speaker, it’s clear that they are not relying on simple tricks. They are drawing on experience. They are integrating the principles that guide them to convey presence and purpose. Some speakers seem like naturals. Chances are, this isn’t the case, they may have grown up in environments where eloquent speaking was valued or required, and they developed their skills along the way through practice and training. Read more

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