I recently overcame the fear of recording myself speaking. Over the years, people recorded me on stage and didn’t give it a second thought, but I found it very difficult or impossible to record myself. Because it was difficult, I had to do it!
What a revelation! Why did I wait so many years?!
In recording myself I heard many stumblings and hesitations, jokes that didn’t work, and a slow, plodding cadence that detracted from a natural flow of sounds and ideas. At the time I thought it was great and I was so clever. I was irritating.
The next time I spoke, I intended to be smooth… and I was… more. There wasn’t a need for remedial training or 20 pushups. I just needed to focus some intention. I didn’t focus my intention on the technical characteristics of speech, but on how I felt as I spoke. I could break it down to the characteristics of voice, but it isn’t as helpful as focussing on how I felt and the voice that results from that feeling. With practice, that intention will improve until it becomes intuitive, until I am no longer aware of its presence – it is just how I speak.
T.J. Walker, Chairman, Executive Producer and Host of Speaking Channel TV kindly sent me a wonderful idea: “…videotape them [someone learning to speak in public] secretly while they are just having a conversation. Then videotape them while they are giving a speech. Most people will see that their natural ‘being themselves’ mode of speaking is drastically superior and will then use that as their role model.”
Record yourself. Then identify something you would like to improve. Focus your intention, focus your feelings, and let me know what you notice. How fast did you improve?