Fear of speaking full stop…
It’s a well known fact that the one of the greatest fears of the majority of people in the world is public speaking, i.e. standing in front of a group of unknown people and speaking.
Then there is about 1% of the population whose greatest fear is speaking full stop, not just in front of unknown people, but in most situations! These are people who stammer or stutter.
So if you’re a person who stammers, why would you want to try out public speaking?
In my opinion there isn’t a better way to increase your confidence in speaking up. In the process you will also learn a bunch of other key skills to help you in your everyday life.
In order to get started, I’m going to suggest that you join a Speakers Club – the Association of Speakers Clubs in the UK or Toastmasters worldwide.
The beauty of Speakers Clubs is that you get feedback and you can practise in a relaxed, friendly and supportive environment.
So now let’s take a look at the five benefits you can expect from your public speaking:
1 – Learn to speak up
Put simply, you will learn to speak up.
By getting up in front of a group of people and speaking out aloud, you slowly begin to break down the fear of speaking. By doing so, you increase your ability to speak up in everyday situations, with friends, family, colleagues and with people you may have just met.
2 – Assertiveness
By continuing to get up in front of a group and talking, your assertiveness will increase, particularly in those situations where you would normally hold back.
There is nothing like the feeling of voicing your opinion during an occasion you know you would usually avoid!
Gaining confidence in speaking can also mean you will be more likely to speak up in a situation first, which just increases your assertiveness even more!
3 – Listening skills
A big part of public speaking is standing up and giving mini and longer speeches.
Equally important is giving a review of the speech of another person.
This not only involves you to keep your eyes open, so you can assess the performance of the speaker you are reviewing, but also to keep your ears open so you know what they’ve talked about.
Doing this again and again can improve your listening skills tremendously. This in turn can help greatly at work and in social situations, when you’re having conversations with other people.
“One of the hardest things in life is having words in your heart that you can’t utter.”
James Earl Jones
One of the iconic voices of our time, James Earl Jones stuttered as a child and took acting lessons to help.
4 – Increase your leadership and management skills
As you gain experience in public speaking at a particular club, you then also have the opportunity to get further involved in the running and management of a club, should you wish.
This can include taking roles such as Treasurer where you oversee the finances of your club, Social Secretary where you help to promote your club and organise social events, right up to Vice-President and President where you lead your club and have final say for major decisions to be made!
All the skills you develop from such roles can directly be transferred both at work and at home.
5 – Increase your social circle
Attending public speaking meetings is a great way to improve your social skills because you get to interact with other members! By doing this you make friends.
There is usually an interval during a meeting, which is time to catch up with existing members, and chat with new ones over a cup of coffee, or half a pint if you’re close to a pub!
Clubs also usually have their own special seasonal events such as formal dinners and casual lunches where again you can socialise.
And in conclusion ladies and gentlemen….
So there you have it.
Five ways that public speaking can help you, if you’re a person who stammers.
As you can see the benefits go far beyond increasing your speaking confidence.
What you will learn can be transferred in your everyday life to improve both your professional and social life. Sometimes the impact that public speaking can make in your life can be drastic.
I know believe me… it helped me get a job!
Time to have your say
Has public speaking helped with your stammer or stutter?
Has public speaking helped you overcome any other problems?
Please feel free to leave a comment, ask a question or pass on tips of your own in the comments below.
My thanks and gratitude to Hiten for covering such a difficult subject in a knowledgeable, supportive and sensitive manner.