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. It can be better exemplified as the anxiety we feel when we speak to crowds or anyone really, besides yourself in the mirror. 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 think I’m a fraud? Do they see me sweating? Oh, they can tell, right? They probably can tell how I wrote something on my notes, but I’m going on tangent.’ Can you feel the anxiety?

Well, that ball of anxiety is me every time I have to talk in front of anyone. 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, it’s my job to represent our organization during our events. Also, I’ve been doing presentations to small and large audiences for over 15 years. It should be second nature, right? Unfortunately, that’s far from the true. I still get the jitters now and again.

Although research has shown that this fear of speaking, or glossophobia, is one of our most common fears, it’s hard to not think it only happens to you, right? Well, even Rihanna, Adele and Beyoncé have confessed their fears of public speaking. Because let’s face it, the fear of public speaking turns the most confident go-getter into a puddle of nerves and self-doubt.

What’s more, even after I learned that my nervousness doesn’t translate to how my audiences see me — research has show that what it may feel to us as a 10/10 in nervousness level, it comes across as a 1 or a 2 to our audiences — 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 public figures such as Renée Zellweger, Nicole Kidman, Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi, etc., 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.’

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 at the next YWiB event. My inner dialogue may continue, for sure.

Through the workshop I learned that public speaking doesn’t come naturally to most people, and that I now have a set of tools to use in my public speaking journey. Who knows? I may become the next Oprah. The Latin Canadian version, that is!