Joy in Public Speaking: Lost Now Found

Case Study: Sandra The Chiropractor

Sandra, a focused and energetic 41 year old chiropractor had just self-published her first book. She consulted me to learn how to speak with ease and confidence about her work at book launches and networking events. And she confessed, one day she’d like to get paid for speaking professionally. Could I help with both those things?

How We Began

We began by establishing that Sandra was already a reasonable speaker but lacked the “personal touch” with groups. Adept at connecting one to one with chiropractic clients, Sandra closed herself down when it came to large groups and audiences. Her inability to connect heart to heart, meant no real engagement and no sales.

With further investigation we identified 2 main issues:

  1. Sandra felt no joy in public speaking – it was a chore to be whizzed through and “ticked off”.
  2. Sandra was uncomfortable with holding eye contact in groups – she was scared of seeing a lack of interest reflected back to her.

After working with Sandra on body language, I challenged her to undertake a 2 week exercise to make an intention to be 100% with every one she came into contact with and to sustain a gentle eye gaze a little longer than usual. She was dubious but willing to give it a go – “as long as it didn’t take too long.” !

The Aha Moment

Sandra reported a moment of pivotal learning for her: She went into a bread shop as she did every Saturday morning to buy a baguette. She decided to be 100% with the “bread-guy”. She made her intention as she walked in, planted her feet, looked at him with her whole body and said, wait for it, “I’d like a baguette please” while offering a gentle gaze.

Well, the bread-guy stopped still, looked her in the eye and said, “Let me get you a good one”. He carefully selected the best baguette for her. Now, every Saturday Sandra enjoys buying from the bread-guy who she now knows is called Brad, instead of ticking it off as yet another chore. Sandra realised “the personal touch” even with a stranger takes only seconds and yields ongoing benefits. She started to transfer her people-power skills beyond the safety of her chiropractic clinic into the world.

Finding Joy In Public Speaking

If a simple change in behaviour led Sandra to enjoy connecting with 1 person, let’s see what happened when she multiplied it to connecting with many. We next spent some time creating the essential message of what she wanted to say at launches and events. Sandra used these events to practise creating trust and rapport on a very personal level. Slowly she started to relax into enjoying herself and began to make an impact whenever she spoke.

One Year Later

One year later Sandra emailed me and said: “I had no idea it was possible for me to find any joy in public speaking. God knows why I was so frightened. Well ok, it was direct eye contact and seeing rejection. Now I grab every opportunity to speak! You can’t shut me up!” Book sales are steady and she’s now self-published her second title. Sandra’s also been asked to be a keynote speaker at a small health conference for the first time next year.

Sandra found her joy in public speaking and the joyful opportunities that came with it.

* The client’s name was changed to protect privacy. If you are ready to find your joy in speaking, contact professional speaking coach Geraldine Barkworth to have a fun, fearless and confidential conversation of your own.

© 2012-18, Geraldine Barkworth, authentic speaking coach. This article is the opinion of the author only.