Most people are usually promoted into management roles for their operational and technical skills; they can ‘do’ the jobs they are managing.  It is rare that a newly promoted manager is ready for all of the softer, interpersonal aspects of their new role, communicating and engaging with others inside and outside of the organisation.  Promotion can therefore come with an emotional price tag as public speaking, in its many forms, is ranked just above death in many people’s fears – managers are no exception to this rule.

For many the idea of presenting to a group reduces them to quivering a jelly.  This nervousness can show itself in a number of different ways; drying up, speaking too quickly, fiddling with pocket change and avoiding eye contact.  When you consider that a key purpose of many workplace presentations is to inspire the audience to take some kind of action, it is really important that a manager is both competent and confident at public speaking.  Writing a speech that will really inspire and engage the team is also a critical management skill – we can’t all afford to employ ‘spin doctors’ to do it for us.

So where are the positives?  It’s perfectly natural to feel nervous when delivering any speech; in fact it helps if you do.  The adrenalin will flow and you will be charged up and ready to go.  However if you feel too nervous the quality of your speech or presentation will suffer, so the important thing is to find a balance by moving from negative fear to positive apprehension.

Henry Ford wrote “Whether you think you will succeed or whether you think you will fail, you will probably be right.”  There is no real shortcut to developing your confidence and your competence, the golden rules are prepare, practice and feedback.

At Casterbridge Speakers Club you will have fun as you slowly build up your confidence and ability to prepare, write, practice and make a variety of speeches.  Confidence grows quickly in a mutually supportive and positive learning environment as you learn to speak in a structured way as well as developing skills that allow you to speak spontaneously on a whole range of subjects.

So why not give us a try?  You can attend the first two meetings before deciding on whether or not to join; this gives you a chance to become familiar and hopefully comfortable in our meetings so that you can decide if it’s for you – I’m sure it will be.

If you are interested please send me an e-mail to douglas.pigg@btinternet.com.  I hope we will see you soon at one of our meetings.  You will be made very welcome.

Our meetings are held at the Wessex Royale Hotel, Dorchester on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month between 7:15pm and 9:45pm.  You can check us out at our website http://www.casterbridgespeakers.org.uk/ .

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