Finding Joy in Public Speaking 

How to infuse joy into your speaking experience

 

Have you been watching Marie Kondo and her new Netflix series “Tidying Up”? I’ve been enjoying it a lot and have been getting lots of inspiration for my living space and personal items. (Especially books – I LOVE my books!

As Marie has been working with different families, I’ve loved seeing the transformations that people are experiencing as they tune into their joy. Which got me thinking – does public speaking bring joy to you?

If you are like many people, you have both conscious and subconscious fears about public speaking. Fear is a big joy-killer. Perhaps you’ve addressed (some of) those fears, and perhaps you are simply avoiding putting yourself out there, in order to avoid the public speaking!

Journalist and Management Book Author Robert Heller said that “fear is excitement without breath”. Turning your fear into excitement is easy when you infuse it with joy!

Public speaking comes in many forms – it’s not all standing in front of a large audience an delivering your best ‘keynote’, although that is a common vision of the ‘traditional’ public speaker.

Networking meetings, parties, encounters at the supermarket, conversations with friends, speeches at family events, office parties, and of course, meetings, presentations, workshops etc. are all opportunities for you to practice honing your public speaking skills. These events ask more than the courtesies of introductions and ‘small talk’.

So now let’s ask you – Where do you find joy in your life? In family time? In alone time? Being out in nature? Enjoying a meal out? Or even a home-cooked meal?

The trick here is to notice what activities feel joyful to you. Close your eyes for a moment and think back on the last time you felt joy. Go there in your mind’s eye and really feel that emotion. Got it?

Now think about bringing that feeling into you the next time you’re introducing yourself to someone new. You are going to exude joy and the other person will be put at ease because you are at ease.

So how does this translate into higher-stakes public speaking?

Each moment you have at the front of the room, or in front of people, is an opportunity to share your joy with others. You could be sharing the report you’ve been working on the past few weeks, or you could be feeling nervous about the first workshop you’re offering. It’s up to YOU to find the joy in the content and inside of you, in order to infuse your public speaking.

The benefit of bringing joy to your speech and your public speaking is that it’s helps keep the audience’s attention while you’re speaking. And no matter what you’re speaking about, keeping the attention of your audience is key to getting your message out there.

The next time you are in a situation where you are introducing yourself, delivering the latest report, or even at a social gathering, consider finding that feeling of ‘joy’ before you open your mouth. Breathe into that feeling, smile, and speak.

Jen Lang, Your Voice and Communications Coach

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