Public Speaking Information

The Porch Light* Method to Speaking Confidence


You know the feeling. Looking out at a sea of faces, you notice a few scowls, frowns, even droopy eyelids on some of your audience members. What are they thinking? Do they disagree with your points? Are they in a bad mood? Do they just not like YOU? You bend over backwards to win them over. You smile, establish eye contact. But the longer you speak the more hopeless you feel as you see your desperate attempts to please fall flat. At the end, feeling discouraged and anxious, you limp away.

It doesn't have to be that way. By using a simple image--the porch light--you can give the same talk with such enthusiasm that scowls won't bother you. In fact, you may even be able to turn those frowns upside down!

Remember going trick-or-treating as a child? You would carefully examine all the houses to determine which ones would yield the good "loot." Most likely, the brightly lit porches with elaborate Halloween decorations would have friendly, generous, confection-laden people behind the door. Also, you most likely skipped the houses with dark, unswept porches for their lack of promise.

Imagine the faces of your audience members as porch lights. Some will be brightly "lit" with smiles and encouraging looks; others may appear uninviting. The trick is to speak into the spirit of the bright porch lights. Let in support from those who are encouraging you. Speak into the generosity of those porches that are lit, rather than into the perceived criticism of the uninviting ones.

Does that mean you ignore the unlit porches? No. Instead of speaking from a panicky need to win them over, addresss the frowning faces with the same energy that you project toward the friendly faces. Easier said than done? Perhaps, but you can make it easier if you remember the following:

1. Negative expressions probably have nothing to do with you. People frown when they have a stomachache; they scowl when they're reliving a fight with their spouses; they drop off when they spent the night rocking a sick baby. Nine times out of ten, they had turned off their porch lights long before you walked in the room.

2. Usually far more porch lights are ON than off. Most people in your audience want you to succeed. But you can get so focused on forcing the negative ones to like you that you don't let in the support of those who already do! It's a shame when warm, supportive energy goes unused. Besides, if you speak appreciatively into the positive energy of the "on" porch lights, the "off" porch lights see the magic that's happening between you and your supporters. That's often all it takes to turn on lights all over the room.

3. Just because a person's porch light is off, it doesn't mean nobody's home. The person might just be concerned, anxious, or distracted. With a little more information or reassurance, that listener's porch light might come on more brightly than all the others.

The next time you speak, remember the wisdom of your trick-or-treating days: Don't spend a lot of time on dark, uninviting porches. Instead, enjoy the warm light of the inviting ones. That's where you'll find the best treats. And, who knows? The grumpy neighbors peeking out from their dark windows may see your joy and decide to turn on their porch lights after all.

* Based on an image mentioned in SPEAKING CIRCLES(R) Facilitator Training. The SPEAKING CIRCLE(R) method is a revolutionary new approach to increasing speaking confidence and charisma. To learn more, visit www.speakingcircles.com.

About The Author

Melissa Lewis turns traditional thinking about public speaking upside down to give people more comfort, confidence, and charisma in front of groups. She is a certified facilitator of SPEAKING CIRCLES(R), president-elect of the National Speakers Association Kansas City Chapter, and author of the soon-to-be-released book, Upside Down Speaking. For more information, call (913) 341-1241 or visit www.upsidedownspeaking.com.

Melissa@upsidedownspeaking.com


MORE RESOURCES:
This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news


Statesman Journal

Public speaking skills important for entrepreneurs
Statesman Journal
Public speaking skills can help you communicate important messages inside and outside your organization. How you speak — your delivery and your content — will greatly affect the outcome of the communication. Unfortunately, humans are not all born ...



WNMU News

WNMU Public Speaking Class Does Service Learning at Humane Society
WNMU News
They worked with the shelter's animals one-on-one, and they practiced their public speaking skills and put their marketing expertise to work. Quiwaina Robinson and Zulema Hernandez both participated in the service-learning project, however each of ...



Fast Company

Try This Simple Trick To Beat Your Public Speaking Anxiety
Fast Company
For starters, you need to recognize that getting anxious about presenting is not a fear of public speaking, but of public humiliation. You're worried about what people will think of you. Chances are, if you're worried about speaking in front of a crowd ...



Forbes

Debunked: Five Public Speaking Myths You Should Stop Believing
Forbes
If you feel paralyzed with fear before approaching the podium, you're not alone: Public speaking is America's top fear. Unfortunately, public speaking is surrounded by an aura of negativity, largely perpetuated by a series of misconceptions. Don't let ...



HuffPost

Public Speaking Essentials
HuffPost
When it comes to public speaking, I've done my fair share. I have done hundreds of talks, presentations, seminars, and even a TEDx for thousands of people. Even though I am well-rehearsed in this area, I still managed to stuff up a speech I delivered ...



Mexico's president again stumbles in public speaking
ABC News
Mexico's president again stumbles in public speaking. By The Associated Press. MEXICO CITY — Dec 12, 2017, 12:51 PM ET. 0 Shares. Email. Star. Mexicos President Enrique Pena Nieto is welcomed by French President Emmanuel Macron, left, before The ...

and more »


Psychology Today (blog)

How to Conquer the Fear of Public Speaking
Psychology Today (blog)
In the case of public speaking, the stimulus that causes fear can range from the actual speaking event itself to the mere thought of having to speak in public. Learning to relax while thinking about, preparing for, or giving an oral presentation ...



Public speaking
FH Times
Public speaking is a fear many of us have. As I stood up at Toastmasters and told the group I felt uncomfortable in these situations, someone said “We all do.” We all do is right. People take charge in their own ways and some are more outgoing than ...



P.M. News

Speakers' Lounge equips aspiring entrepreneurs with public speaking skills
P.M. News
The Speakers' Lounge has trained aspiring entrepreneurs and youths in Lagos in the act of public speaking. The inaugural edition of the Speakers' Lounge, a platform created to train and support speakers, aspiring speakers and business owners within and ...



The Daily Star

Masquerade Medley and Annual Public Speaking Competition at NSU
The Daily Star
North South University Communications Club brought back "Masquerade Medley and Annual Public Speaking Competition" for the fifth time, after its last appearance in 2015. This year, the programme was held between November 17 to 21, at the university ...


Google News

home | site map
© 2006