Personal Skills: Public Speaking Workshop Recap

The illusion of transparency is a cognitive bias that causes people to grossly overestimate the degree to which other people can guess their emotional state. Basically, research has show that what it may feel to us as a 10/10 in nervousness level (while your inner dialogue goes into overdrive), it comes across as a 1 or a 2 to our audiences.

For example, the anxiety we feel when we speak to crowds or anyone besides ourselves in the mirror, goes hugely unnoticed to the outside eye. The inner dialogue that goes something like: ‘what will my audience think of me? Do they notice how nervous I am? Do they hear my voice shaking? Oh my god, can they hear my crazy heartbeats? Do they see me sweating? Oh, they can tell, right? That dialogue is barely apparent to anyone, but ourselves.

Shocking, right? I was shocked also. Specially because that inner dialogue is practically me every time I have to speak in public. I know, I know. I’m supposed to be the resident YWiB’s expert in public speaking. After all, as the Toronto Chapter’s president, right? It’s my job to represent our organization during our events. I’ve been doing presentations to small and large audiences for over 10 years, so it should be second nature, right? Unfortunately, that’s far from the truth. I still get the jitters, and nervous energy when I have to speak to a crowd.

One of the things I’ve learned though, is that I’m not alone in feeling this way. Research has shown that this fear of speaking, or glossophobia, is one of our most common human fears. Even worse that fear of dying. Yep, even superstars such as Oprah, Rihanna, Adele and Beyoncé have confessed their fears of public speaking!

What’s more, even after I learned that my nervousness doesn’t translate to how my audiences see me, and that I had pretty good company in the fear department, heh — I was still not 100% comfortable with my public speaking skills.

So when the YWiB team floated the idea of a public speaking workshop, I was on board 100% without hesitation. Yes! I want to learn how to leave the doubts at the door, I want to learn how to stand better, project my voice, and appear like a confident speaker. Yes, I want to be the YWiB Oprah, with the confident delivery, welcoming presence, and easy going style.

After all, at YWiB we know that many public figures have overcome their fear of public speaking by practicing and learning proper techniques. We know our community certainly would benefit from learning how to become public speaking mavens!

Fast forward to Thursday, October 18th, at the Downtown Tangerine Café where our two wonderful facilitators, Jerako Wendt and Roxana Radulescu, delivered two concurrent workshops. Jerako taught us about storytelling and anchoring, and Roxana lead us through using body language to deliver effective presentations. Both of the sessions were practical and interactive. The attendees stretched, practiced, tried the breathing exercises, told stories to each other, and at the end, of the attendees to tell her story to the whole group. It was so encouraging and heartwarming to see all attendees come out of their shells in such a short time!

You can check out Jerako’s and Roxana’s presentations below.

Jerako’s Presentation

Roxana’s Presentation

Also, the YWiB team created a great workbook with resources and links for us to refer to when we’re ready to continue our journey to become master storytellers and public speaking geniuses. Check it out here -> Resources Handbook.

We hope these resources help you in your journey to become a better public speaker. We have included within the workbook places and groups where you can practice your craft, because like Roxana said: ‘Practice makes permanent.’ Our inner dialogue may continue, for sure, but with time it’s just background noise.

As for me, well, what I can say? I learned a lot of wonderful new things, and I’m really looking forward to practicing what I learned. Who knows? I may become the next Oprah. The Latin Canadian version, that is!