ew years ago, I took a course in public speaking, namely, the Dale Carnegie course. It was a twelve week course based on several of his books.
Back in the day, he realized that learning public speaking skills could bleed over into virtually every area of life. Business, social, relationships, you name it.
Because Carnegie combined a few of his principles with the fear busting practice of simply getting up and expressing yourself.
Sure, it’s one thing to get up and blather on about the importance of brushing your teeth.
But when you apply some of proven persuasive Carnegie techniques, in a tight, two minute speech, with a strong call to action, it’s hard not to dramatically improve your skills.
Do this week after week, for twelve weeks (each week getting more intense) you pretty much become a public speaking ninja.
And as a side effect, pretty much all social fear vanishes.
I loved the course so much that I decided to become an assistant instructor.
One thing, on my first day of being an assistant instructor, was pretty enlightening.
Now, even though it’s a public speaking course, and people sign up knowing they are going to be speaking every week, it’s still pretty hair raising for most folks.
On the first day, one of the assistants goes to the front and expresses their medium term goals, in a short, powerful and enthusiastic speech.
Then the main instructor tells the students that their homework is to come up with their own set of goals, and present them in a tight, two minute, enthusiastic format.
The moment the instructor gives out the homework, the body language of all the students (as seen from the back of the room, where the assistants are sitting) suddenly changes.
From one of relaxed, open enjoyment, to one of rigid and guarded fear.
It’s as if everybody in the room is like, “Wow, that’s pretty…Wait,..WHAT?!?!”
Of course, by the end of the twelve week course, all those petrified folks have suddenly become public speaking ninjas.
This, of course, is the brute force method of getting over your fears. Facing them again and again until they vanish.
Takes courage, takes time, but it works. Always.
However, there’s an easier way. Used alone it works wonders.
Used in conjunction with actually going out and facing you fears, even in a small way?