When you lead a group, are you fully present with yourself and your group members? Your program may be well designed, but if there is any anxiety about speaking in front of others, your effectiveness is diminished. With the Essential Speaking programs, you develop mindfulness skills that enable you to be comfortable with silence, present in the here and now, at ease looking participants eye to eye, and capable of open and deep listening. When your voice arises from the essence of who you are, others are drawn to you. Your gift, as well as what you offer, can then radiate naturally to your participants.

The key to speaking without fear is learning how to be genuine and fully present in the moment. What this statement implies is that working to dissolve the fear of speaking is more about helping people find the confidence to express who they really are. And this means going on a journey of self-discovery.

I find that many people are afraid of being themselves in front of others, often for fear of being judged. To deal with that fear, they anxiously focus on trying to figure out the perfect thing to say or the perfect script that they must rehearse over and over again. Conventional techniques that are typically taught to reduce fear can actually increase anxiety and worry.

The solution for dissolving the fear and speaking from a place of strength and confidence is to first find the connection to who you really are—the truth of who you are. Then, being fully present with yourself, you can learn to listen to the words that come from your inner voice. That’s where the true power is. “I know who I am, I’m connected to my Essence…this is my truth.” When someone has found their way to their real voice, there is no fear.

Being present and being true to who you are is empowering. When you want to speak authentically and without fear, you need to realize that what you’re working on is actually self-empowerment. It is not a better script, or better techniques.

In my book, Essential Speaking: The 7-Step Guide to Finding Your Real Voice, I take people beyond scripts and techniques and offer an innovative approach to authentic speaking. People who come to work on speaking with me wonder why the first step is Silence. It’s because being comfortable without any words is powerful. It’s important to first find the quiet, still center point of your being, taking a full breath, and grounding yourself in stillness. Following are the seven steps.

  1. Be Silent
  2. Be Present
  3. Be Available
  4. Be Attuned
  5. Be Positive
  6. Be Connected
  7. Be Yourself

These steps all begin with “Be” because my model is based on the fact that I believe that the fear of speaking is not about the words or how they are delivered. The fear is about being yourself in front of others. The steps are cumulative and build on each other. Fear is dissolved as each step is practiced until the self is realized.

I work with people privately, online, and in groups. In addition, I facilitate Speaking Circles® where participants are supported in developing genuine presence. This is the key to staying calm, centered, and connected to yourself and your listeners.

Doreen Hamilton, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist, Founder of Essential Speaking, and Training Director of Speaking Circles® International specializes in the treatment of anxiety caused by the fear of speaking. In addition to her authentic communication workshops, private coaching, psychotherapy, and E-Courses, she leads Speaking Circles® in Berkeley. Visit: www.essentialspeaking.com

©Northern California Group Psychotherapy Society. All rights reserved. Permission to reprint articles must be obtained in writing from NCGPS. Opinions or claims expressed in articles do not necessarily reflect those of NCGPS.

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