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How To Discover Your True Self Through Public Speaking

by Nelson Tan

Being a toastmaster brings many benefits, first of which is building up the courage to speak up, then speech fluency, voice amplification and emotion control. On more than a few occasions, I have shared with people who are curious about the activities of a toastmasters' club, but most recently, I thought of another significant benefit, which is connecting with your true self.

We don't often have the opportunity to speak our minds but second-guess whether a blunt or frank opinion may put off a listener. After all, there are written and unwritten rules of protocol that guide and protect the order of a civilized society. With the right people in the right place however, it will be the right time to make full use of the occasion and get your message across for maximum impact. As you think back to all the conversations you had with different people and small groups, you may realize that each individual and group forms a different impression of who you are. Each impression is like a puzzle piece, but once you connect all the pieces together, you will finally see the 'whole' you.

Surely on some group chat occasions, you felt like you did not have a fruitful experience and want to quit the group. One thing that took me a long time to figure out is the smaller the audience size, the higher the probability that groupthink develops. When you can sense that an unspoken consensus is established once the usual folks meet up together, you know whether it is time for you to continue to be 'in' or get 'out'. If you force yourself to continue your relationship with the group, you can only speak in a manner that corresponds with the image that the group has formed about you. It is not healthy in the long run because you are not being your true, wholesome self.

Since a toastmasters' club's purpose is to train one's ability to communicate verbally, I believe it is not bounded by any specific motive or agenda and nothing is off-limits—nor sex, politics, religion or body count (and I recall I had lots of dead people in my speeches)—and therefore members can speak their thoughts freely so long as they present their speeches appropriately. And thus I also believe whatever internal culture that arises within the toastmasters' club must not stifle the speaker even if fellow members disagree with what s/he says.

Here is where the speaker can discover his true self. We may speak our mind but we may not always pay attention to one particular listener. This listener is not sitting among the audience, but is the speaker himself.

Assuming there is no groupthink and you are going to speak to the largest size of audience possible whereby you're not going to please everyone, the most attentive listener who is going to agree or disagree with your every word is yourself. As you prepare your speech, you connect with yourself and ask if this is what the 'true' you would speak. The audience with no groupthink does not care whether you're faking it on the podium or not; it accepts you as your true self by default. The only question that matters is would you suffer your conscience if you had not spoken the total truth, or worse, lied to your audience as you leave the stage?

I'm led to understand that Hitler was a damn good speaker, but let's not discount that his groupthinking audience—his country—played along with him. And God knows how much of Goebbel's techniques were incorporated, while I wonder how the few discerning ones saw through Hitler's doublespeak without the help of the Internet. Fast-forward to Netanyahu's "red line" presentation and it instantly made me associate with Powell's U.N. presentation and justification for Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Is it all rhetorical bullshit? Has the U.N. assembly descended into a circus of poker players?

Dear coaches, trainers, salesmen, pastors, politicians, who is the 'true' you? Are you good or evil? Touch your heart, and laugh, cry and yell in front of people like never before. Engaging a 'live' audience is the litmus test in which you make the major decision of how you want to be perceived by the largest number of people in the shortest amount of time while you begin to discover the innermost values that define your identity, because whatever you think, say and act—or don't—echoes in eternity.

Nelson Tan is the webmaster behind Internet Mastery Center where you can download $347 worth of FREE Internet Marketing gifts!


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Monday, 19 Mar 2018 06:49 AM


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