Sometimes conversation can be challenging even when we aren’t brilliant minded, especially when we don't know the person we're talking to very well! And taking conversation a step further into giving a speech in front of peers can be paralyzing!
I took a communications class in college and at first, was very intimidated at the idea of having to present my ideas or thoughts in the front of the classroom! We did it in steps, first to our neighbor, then a small group, a larger group and then the entire class. I discovered, as I became more confident in my ability, I rather enjoyed the challenge---as long as I knew my subject! It is without question, Albert Einstein had an amazing mind, but according to some sources, was not a gifted speech maker. In fact he struggled at times with the English language and the ability to present his ideas. 1
Somehow this seems unlikely when you consider his intelligence level, regardless of data to suggest otherwise. As a speaker, however, we must focus and verbalize thoughts in a manner others will understand and find interesting! Not everyone can do this well. Often (although certainly not always!) it seems when someone is particularly adept in Math, the English side of the equation isn’t nearly so strong. On the other hand, if a person is strong in English, Math can be the lesser link.
When we speak before a group, we are taking a leadership role that has the potential to change the thought process of everyone who is listening. Public speaking provides empowerment, especially when you’re good at it! To be empowered is to have authority. When a person has good knowledge of a topic, he can mesmerize an audience as he shares his information as long as it’s interesting, personable and engaging.
Who doesn’t want an captive audience? Even when we’re sharing a tidbit of information with a friend, spouse or a family member, we want undivided attention. Children, too, desire undivided attention when they are sharing something with us. I’ve even had my fourteen-month-old grandson take his little hands and put them along both sides of my face to turn my face to him, or deliberately place little face in front on mine, so I must see and acknowledge him.
How satisfying is it to be able to share knowledge with a friend or stranger who needs to know about a doctor or specialty store we know about? There is a sense of power and confidence when they take the information given and act upon it. We have made a difference in someone else’s life. That is power!
So I challenge you to consider your conversations this next week. Do you know the subject you are discussing? Is it information someone else can use or at least be uplifting? If so, I suggest you are making a positive difference! If the opposite is true: you aren't sure about your subject, or the information isn't in some way building another person up, you may want to re-think your discussion!
2 Beebe, S. A. (2000). Public Speaking, An Audience-Centered Approach. Needham Heights, MA, USA: Pearson Education Co.