Conflict is inevitable; effective communication is not

Fear vs. trust

This weekend I will be presenting an education session for the District 63 Toastmasters Spring Conference in Chattanooga. We’ll be talking about Healthy Conflict, aimed at managing such within a Toastmasters club, but the principles apply to any organization.

Here’s the gist: conflict is inevitable. If you are alive, you will experience conflict. Many of us spend a lot of time trying to avoid conflict, and while we certainly don’t need to seek it or cause it on purpose, we should face the reality that it will happen, and so focus on developing skills for effective, healthy conflict. Continue reading “Conflict is inevitable; effective communication is not”

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Who is your actual audience?

book-of-job

I don’t have figures to back this up, but experience suggests that a lot of arguments aim not so much to convince the other person as to justify your position to yourself.

I had the great experience of speaking to the Foothills Unitarian Universalist Fellowship this morning about the power of storytelling. I’ve known that power for years in terms of affecting other people, and this morning’s talk focused on the power of the stories we tell ourselves. As part of that talk, we turned to the Book of Job, especially as translated by Stephen Mitchell. Continue reading “Who is your actual audience?”

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It’s not really fear of public speaking…

exposed

…it’s fear of being transparent–of being myself in front of other people, of being judged.

As Seth Godin says, it’s fear of telling the truth. Continue reading “It’s not really fear of public speaking…”

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Bonus: The Anatomy of Fear

It’s a bit dated at this point, but it’s a great infographic about the anatomy of fear. Public speaking made #9! Enjoy. (Click the image for the original and a larger image.)

Halloween Infographic
Sortable Anatomy of Fear Infographic

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Eye contact helps overcome stage fright

I’ve read a few posts lately mentioning that eye contact is hard for a speaker, even experienced ones. (One place I just saw it is in the very good article “5 Public Speaking Tips that Build Relationships.”) I agree! But I also want to push a little beyond the initial resistance we have to it.

As Dr. Michelle observes, “Making eye contact allows you to connect with your audience.” The emphasis here is on genuine contact. The old saws about picking out a spot on the back wall or looking at their foreheads do not work simply because they don’t establish contact. While the idea of contacting a stranger that intimately seems threatening at first, once you do you’ll discover something very pleasant: there is no such thing as an audience! Continue reading “Eye contact helps overcome stage fright”

photo by: @Doug88888
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Guest post on stage fright

I have a guest post up on SpeakingAgent.com about Stage Fright. Check it out, and the other posts on Saul Farber’s blog as well.

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Not really the biggest fear?

Richard Garber makes the point well that the often-quoted idea is wrong: fear of public speaking is probably not as widespread as we’ve been told. Communication anxiety is still very widespread, as the research cited shows. It’s just not as universal as we’ve heard (and as I’ve often said in class). You can see this between the lines and explicitly in his article, “What’s the difference between a fear and a phobia?

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