Just Talk To Me... from Private Voice to Public Speaker is here to help your public speaking and to talk more honestly and openly and powerfully, without fear - whether one to one, a handful at a Meeting, thousands at a Conference or millions through Radio and Television.
By exploring the two most important aspects of talking - the voice you use to communicate and how you prepare yourself emotionally - to help you recreate the qualities of a perfect conversation every time you speak.
Your voice is an instrument to be played. If it's not working well and up to the demands placed on it when you get up and talk, how can you ever hope to be truly heard? How can you ever hope to express what you really feel if your instrument lets you down?
Emotional preparation is crucial. So many people are afraid to face their fear of speaking to others. The fear of fear all too easily swamps them out as they start to talk. How they deal with this drop-dead gut wrenching fear varies from trying to keep control of their emotions by hiding behind a mask or by asking the listener to forgive them for not being very good. Neither approach ever allows them to speak with any conviction or passion.
We all have to learn, but in no other area of life do we assume we can just do it, without properly preparing ourselves. We wouldn't dream of letting someone pilot a jumbo jet with 500 people on board who'd only ever flown a toy glider. Yet strangely we assume anyone should be able to get up and talk without any proper help.
In the time I've been involved in helping people to talk, I've realized how confused most of us are as to what communication is really all about. Somehow, the basic reason for talking to another person - to communicate your thoughts and to tell your story, whatever it is, as truthfully and as honestly as you can, has got lost. The whole world over loves to be told stories. True stories or ones we know have been made up - we really don't mind - so long as they're emotionally truthful.
What's more, the storyteller, whoever they may be, has to be touched by the story they're telling. To do that, they first have to understand the person whose telling the story - they have to understand themselves.
The most important part of my drama training was to appreciate the purpose and need that we all have to tell and be told stories. Also, that the performer has to accept completely that they're the messenger of the story. To serve the story, they have to face up to their own fears and learn to use the amazing surge of energy that's being given to them when they stand up in front of a group of people. And finally they have to prepare their bodies and voices to express their emotions through their words, as fully and clearly as possible.
Every human being who dares to stand up in front of people and speak has an enormous responsibility to talk from the heart. And that's what you and I are going to explore together. Talking to people is always emotional, there's no getting away from it, but learning how to express yourself honestly won't be as scary or as difficult as you imagine.
I'm going to take you to find your true voice the one you always knew was there, but were too afraid to use. I'm going to explore with you the qualities of a perfect conversation and show you how to achieve it - every time you speak.
I'll be using aspects of my own training and experience as an actor as well as draw on what I've learnt from those I've helped. My drama training took three years. Time after time I felt as if I couldn't deal with being so vulnerable. I wanted to go back behind my screen and hide. I wanted to quit. Yet I knew that if I didn't face my fear I'd be lost. When I did finally break through, my newfound ability to express my emotions suddenly made sense of my life. But you don't need to be an actor to experience that feeling, nor will it take you three years.
Fear is the key that locks the door on everyone' s potential. If you feel safe to speak, your natural honesty and eloquence will be heard. I hope to take you to face your fear and demystify what it is that makes some people terrible speakers and others brilliant. As we explore how to find the key to unlock that hidden part of you, the rest will surely follow, giving you the confidence to show your true self more and more of the time.
The confidence to speak easily to an audience of 3,000 people, believe it or not, is already in you. But what you probably need most of all is the belief that it's there. That belief will grow, as we explore both physically and emotionally the things that hold you back.
In addition, we'll contemplate what sound really is, the energy involved and its power and effect. We'll look at the origins of language and our need as humans to communicate. We'll look at the ritual we all enter into with the people we speak to.
We'll explore and develop your own power to create sound and the effect it has on your whole being - as well as on others. We'll examine the links between words and emotion and the effect all words have on you - even as you say them. Also, how the physical act of speaking words will help you to get back in touch with your own feelings and your own power. We'll look at what fear really is and how you can turn it into something wonderfully liberating and incredibly positive. Really!
We'll look at different methods you can use to develop your ability to relax in readiness for speaking under stress. We'll strengthen your vocal muscles and increase your breath power, enabling you to express virtually anything you want to say, in whatever way you want to say it.
We'll explore the qualities that make for the perfect conversation and develop a way for you to recreate them every time you speak. We'll survey some of the many situations you may find yourself in when you need or have to talk, and find practical ways to deal with them as they arise, whether it be talking to a child or talking to your boss (well, maybe it's the same thing). We'll look at the practical preparations necessary to speak to groups of people, either large or small, including speaking to a conference of thousands.
We'll go through, step by step, what you'll need to do if you ever have to prepare for a major speech, right up to and including your delivery. That should be enough to be going on with!
Speaking to other people can be anything from a pleasure to a nightmare. However good or bad you believe you are at communicating your thoughts and dreams to the world around you - I know that by understanding and experiencing what we're going to do together, your ability will grow more than you ever imagined. All I ask in return is for you to occasionally put your brain in neutral and trust your guts. Allow yourself to explore your own potential in a different way. Give your imagination the chance to run free and find and explore this alternative route - after all, what you've tried in the past didn't work. Most of all, I need you to give yourself the present of a little time.
You already know you have the potential to talk to people in a different and more complete way.
All I'm doing is helping you re-discover how to achieve it. But you're the one who's going to make the changes. You're the one who's going to let it happen, with just a little help from me. By taking responsibility for making those changes yourself, you're already further down the path of your own success than most people have ever dared to travel.
Watch a BBC interview given by Peter Settelen
Listen to a BBC Radio interview given by Peter Settelen about "Just Talk To Me..."
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First Published by HarperCollins
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