From blogging to public speaking
Blogging made me better with written words; but how about spoken words or public speaking?
I experienced that quite some time ago, even before I took my break and my holiday. That night I had church small group gathering and I was not in the mood of attending. It is the men’s fellowship where most of them are fathers in their 40s and 50s, while I’m the only one in the 20s. Because of earlier commitment, I came. As I was so tired, I planned to be just quiet in the meeting. I was planning to observe and not to talk too much.
Fortunately, I changed my mind. I was thinking to myself, “I’m so tired and wanted to be alone, but usually I can write and blog when I am tired. So… why didn’t I speak as I blog?” That moment, it changed my attitude. I visualize myself blogging while speaking, and eventually, came to my surprise, I managed to share a lot of thoughts that night. I enjoyed the event and I’m leaving the event not so tired anymore.
Now it’s my turn to share the lesson to you; how you can use your experience in blogging while speaking in public.
I enjoyed blogging very much because it’s usually my relax time. It is my time that I spent alone, reflecting. No pressure, no impression needed. I don’t have to do anything and I don’t have to think about what to speak. I can take my own sweet time. I simply relax, flow with my thought, and write. Amazingly, speaking is much better with the same attitude as well. Good speakers are very relaxed while they speak. They are secure with the knowledge and capabilities they have, and they easily speak fluently.
“In public speaking, fast is slow”, Kern taught me. He was a teacher in one English school whose preview I attended. I was taught by him about public speaking that day. He pointed a good example that many of us will speak faster when we are nervous. Try otherwise, slow to relax yourself, and amazingly, slowing also shows your confidence in what you are speaking of.
There is one message I read quite long time ago from Scott H. Young, How to Fuel a Creative Flow. He wrote about two-flow theory of creativity. One is the creation flow or generation of ideas. And the other is destruction flow or perfection of ideas. The more important point he shared is to keep the two flows separated. Don’t let the destruction flow interrupt your creation flow.
This concept has been very helpful in my writing, and I found that the similar concept is useful in public speaking. Speaking is very much a creation flow, and you better stop your destruction flow while you speak. That is also very much the strength of extroverts. They speak before they think; some people even say that they speak without thinking. They talk and let their opinion comes out without any inhibitors. They do not worry about other people’s impression. They are spontaneous, going with the flow.
Introverts, on the other hand, are very much into perfection when they talk. They put very high standard on themselves. Hence, they are sensitive to the mistakes they made. Sometimes, right after they speak it out. That is how destruction flow can distract the creation flow. It occupies your mind, and it destroys your confidence.
Try to be bold! Being bold also means that you will make mistakes, but being bold is going beyond your fear of mistakes. Being bold always comes out of confidence. Confidence that everything is still under control, that God is still under control and you don’t have to worry. Even with mistakes that you have made.
Writing needs destruction flow or refinement of ideas. That is when you restructure the sentence and grammars. It is the time when you reflect to the messages you are about to share again. It is where the skepticism, focus and higher standards are given.
Does speaking needs that too? If so, when does the destruction flow in speaking comes?
Destruction flow is necessary, but it comes when you are not speaking. That comes either when you are preparing or listening. Presentation requires you to prepare beforehand; it is the time where you refine your idea.
On the other hand, discussion, meeting, or impromptu presentation may not give you any preparation time. In that case, the destruction flow comes when other people speak, when you listen. Listen attentively, and use their idea to refine your idea. Thinking alone is very limited, and you need to get other people’s idea to refine them.
I believe you have read or listened a lot about the importance of self-confidence in speaking. It’s true, it’s very important. But how do you achieve it? Here is what Scott suggested…
I’d argue that self-confidence is an oxymoron because total confidence means a lack of self… Only when I stop thinking about “me” and focus on the idea I want to cover does the writing become easy.
~Scott H. Young (Self Confidence is an Oxymoron)
Writing with self-confidence required you to stop the focus on you, but on the message you give. Similarly, bring the focus of your speech to the message you bring. It’s no longer about the impression you need to make, or what people think about you or even your idea. They can share about them after you speak, but not when you speak.
Setting a purpose is what I found also helpful while writing. And similarly, speak with purpose in mind. Naturally, people always think about themselves most of the time. Only when they have purpose and affection, they will think about others. Similarly, you need to occupy your mind with something, with purpose and value you are giving. And then you’ll have much more confidence.
Another worry that writers often struggle is the matter of style. Strunk and White are giving one advice through their book, The Elements of Style…
Write in a way that draws the reader’s attention to the sense and substance of the writing, rather than to the mood and temper of the author… the first piece of advice is this: to achieve style, begin by affecting none- that is, place yourself in the background.
~Strunk and White (The Elements of Style)
The writer is the background. And the same way, it’s important to bring yourself to the background while speaking. It’s no longer the style you want to present, but the message you want to bring. And the rest that matters is your proficiency in the language use, your style will emerge as you give and focus on the value you bring. It’s how you can connect with your readers (or listeners).
Writing has become helpful in that event. Tiredness made me much more relax, and I choose to visualize as I’m writing. I focused on what the message that I can bring up and share with the others. I let it flow, slow and without any pressure. People notice how you speak. And interestingly, you can be in the background and your confidence is still shining.
Writing (and speaking),
- Scott H. Young (How to Fuel a Creative Flow)
- Scott H. Young (Self Confidence is an Oxymoron)
- Reason-4-Smile (Seven benefits of blogging to your personal growth)