As you grow as a spokesperson you will quickly appreciate the likeness of acquiring communication skills with common skills, such as tennis, golf, or driving. Skills become dull with neglect. Your skills remain sharpest when well exercised. A maintenance program, at minimum, should include regular practice sessions, at best, periodic coaching from a professional. This serves to fine tune existing skills as well as cultivate new ones.
If you are attempting your first presentation, it may help to remember that millions of speakers before you have walked in your shoes. I often reflect on my first major speech with fond memories and a sheepish grin of delight as I enjoyed the great satisfaction. The well-worn saying, “nothing ventured, nothing gained” is good to keep in mind while pondering an invitation to speak. I urge you to step forward and speak up. This decision has changed the lives of many reluctant speakers.
In the introduction of this book, I stated that everyone can improve their communication skills. This is true. It is also true that each of us is a unique individual complete with innate strengths and weaknesses. Each of us is not necessarily blessed with the raw ingredients required to become everyone’s ideal spokesperson. We each have different perceptions of what that entails. One person’s ideal speaker is another’s phony orator.
As you reach out to be the best possible you, remember to keep the real you in sight. Don’t be a poor imitation of someone else. Retain your spark of individuality. Don’t let overzealous coaches con you into being their clone. A command of the art of communication is most valuable when used to communicate the truth. This includes the true you, at your best.
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