Imagine standing in front of an expectant audience and not knowing where your next sentence is coming from.
This common nightmare leads to epidemic anxiety around public speaking, as well as to over-preparation and over-thinking. And not just for newbies but for experienced speakers who work hard to make sure they never find themselves at a loss for words, often at the expense of juicy authenticity.
But what if not knowing where your next words are coming from can actually be a relaxing, expansive experience? Impossible as that may sound, Relational Presence practice makes it so. Such practice (which you can do with a partner or even with yourself in a mirror if you cannot get to a Speaking Circle) intentionally puts you in that situation and gives you the opportunity to live through it, then thrive on it, effortlessly and in full presence.
At first, new attendees often use their wits to talk their way through, but it is apparent to all that they are leading with their head and compromising the human connection. Then, as soon as they surrender to the wordlessness of the moment and take a full breath in “co-presence” with any one listener, the room gets very cozy and words suddenly seem unnecessary. Paradoxically, this is when words often start to flow, effortlessly and eloquently.
When you have a few such rewarding experiences in a supportive group, you can bring your capacity to be easygoing in the not knowing into “real world” situations. You’ll take that breath with luxurious ease without “ums” and “uhs” while you discover what’s next, and afterwards your listeners will laud you for those masterful pauses.
Here’s another perspective about how this works. The miracle cure for anxiety in front of groups–for both new speakers and experienced ones who tend to keep an emotional distance from their audiences–is to feel the anxiety in front of a supportive group. Not mask it, talk through it, hide it, try to relax, think it away. Just let it be seen by breathing into its full splendor with one person at a time.
You see, anxiety converts to excitement and ease the moment it is allowed to move. It is the same energy! I witness instant transformations in this realm at every Speaking Circle.
Is it your time to join the easygoing in the not knowing path to personal and professional power?
© Copyright 2011, Lee Glickstein. All rights reserved.