Letting Yourself Shine in Public Speaking

Lots of people have gifts and talents that are excellent but they don’t shine.    They are so full of self-judgment and self-criticism that they can’t experience their brilliance. They don’t shine because they don’t accept their gifts. Instead they place unrealistic expectations of perfection upon themselves.

For instance, a technical professional shares her ideas with co-workers or presents her valuable ideas to clients.  Instead of being proud to have shared unique insights, she picks apart every detail of how she delivered her message.  Every perceived imperfection causes her to beat herself up mentally. The result is she can’t experience how well she just spoke or how valuable her contribution was to the company or client.  She can’t shine. This is so common as to be epidemic.

What must happen to this professional in order to shine is that she must give up perfectionism and commit to service, allowing herself to make a contribution and make a difference.  Her focus must shift from her performance to simply giving her ideas freely.  She has to learn that her effectiveness is in what happens to her listeners rather than the appearance of perfection in her presentation.

I learned this lesson through my education in acting.  The hardest thing for me to learn in acting was to let go of control and allow the emotions to flow freely. As in presenting, acting is a performance skill that requires authenticity to really shine.  In acting, just because you say the lines perfectly does not mean you have given a great performance.  The actor needs to know the lines but allow the meaning of the lines to come as a result of the momentary emotional response to what is happening on stage during each performance. For acting to be great, the actor has to let go of emotional control and allow the feelings to flow through the words.  Each performance will be different if the actor is allowing for authentic flow of emotion.

Just like the actor, our employee has to give up control of her talk and allow herself to be real at the head of the room.  When she does so, sharing her ideas and expertise freely, allowing herself to find the words in that moment that communicate the ideas she wants her listeners to understand, she will shine.

What I have seen thousands of times since I have been teaching public speaking is that most people have the ability to shine at speaking once they let go of self-criticism. What we do at The Self-Expression Center is to help people make that transition from self-judgment to self-acceptance so they are free to share themselves and make a difference in the world.  We help people experience their own ability to communicate effectively, not perfectly…so they can shine.

For more information about learning to shine, visit  See our programs in Speaking from the Heart and Beginning Acting.  

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