Did you know that public speaking – or speaking in front of a group – is the most common human fear? That’s right, it surpasses even death. That means that more people would rather be in the coffin than delivering the eulogy. Hard to believe, but true.
Actually, I used to feel that way myself. After enduring a couple of humiliating experiences speaking in front of large groups when I was young, I decided I never wanted to put myself in that situation again. At some level, I would rather have died than stand and speak in front of a group.
Now, having overcome that fear, I can’t think of a greater privilege than being able to speak in front of people. It’s a real joy. When I’m speaking to a group, I get to tell my listeners what I’m feeling or thinking in each moment. I get to connect with them and be real in front of them.
Speaking Circles offer that opportunity for people. When a person is speaking in a Circle, they get to be exactly how they want to be in front of the group. They get to voice what they’re thinking and feeling. They can even choose to not speak, and simply stand in silence in front of the group for their whole turn. No one tells them they need to do or say anything different.
And always, in every Speaking Circle turn, the person up front is appreciated by their listeners. They get to be seen, heard and accepted for exactly who they are and how they are in each moment. That, also, is a privilege. Who knew speaking in a group could be so enriching?
What benefits can you see from speaking in public? What are some places you might be able to speak publicly? What would be your intentions when you do take this opportunity? Please feel free to share your comments below.