At age 18 y/o I was involved in a motor vehicle accident (MVA) , which resulted in three skull fractures, a traumatic brain injury (TMI), not being found for six (6) hours, an 8-day coma, weeks of paralysis and having to relearn to walk and talk, which was compounded with a severe speech impediment I had long before the MVA.
When discharged from the hospital, my height was 6′ and weight 110 lbs. My short-term memory (STM) was terrible and still is VERY bad. Coping with stress was/is an enormous task. Poor impulse control, which is caused by damage to the frontal lobe, will often destroy relationships, because people can’t see that it’s a physical problem. It made no exception with me.
However, I was fortunate. Was able to earn three college degrees, get married and have children. Unfortunately, the marriage only lasted 15 years. I devoted much time researching TBI. Even though I will always have problems with STM, anxiety/depression, seizures; I have been able to present seminars/workshops on national level.
Support groups helped immensely. Too, researching TBI and how to cope with anxiety/depression proved beneficial.
All of what you read above was coupled with a TREMENDOUS fear of speaking to a group. I grew-up with a SEVERE speech impediment. Giving a book report was a traumatic experience!
That all changed years later. Will not go into how I overcame…..or rather learned to control…. my speech impediment, because that was not your question. I will offer some things I did to overcome my fear of speaking to a group.
First, and I learned this from the late Dr. Don Kirkley, who taught public speaking at the Pentagon, the key to effective speaking is….hesitation. Pause. No more than six (6) words at a time without a pause. Even less….than six… will work….nicely.
That will give the audience an opportunity to process what you’ve said and will convey confidence. ALL great speakers pause. Regardless if you liked their politics….JFK, Clinton, Obama, Paul Harvey, all great speakers….pause.
Also, it means you are saying less, which can mean less stress for you. If you use hesitation correctly, your audience will cling to every word.
To prevent me from speaking too fast, and sounding nervous, I learned to emphasize the last sound of each word I speak. Was taught to use enough voice. MANY actors, who stutter, use(d) a full voice to overcome their stutter. That includes James Earl Jones, John Wayne and a host of others.
I always do something to make my audience laugh at the first of my programs, it takes away some of my jitters. Making an audience laugh, creates a bond. Since I overcame this fear, speaking to a group is a rush. Too, it’s allowed me to conduct seminars/workshops on a national level. So…….pause….last sound…..use a full voice.
To learn how I overcame the fear of public speaking take a look at the ebook, Rise Above: Conquering Adversities on Amazon Kindle. It’s also available online in paperback format.
To view click on the link below:
All the best to you!