“The very first day”
So there I was… coffee in my left hand, pen in my right, with my notepad in my lap. I was prepared. I was ready for my first ever Dale Carnegie Class. Anxiety was building, hands were shaking, palms were sweating.. I had no idea why I was so panicky. I have done this before. I have been speaking in public for more than 5 years! I went to school for theatre. I even delivered my eighth grade graduation speech. This should be a piece cake for me… right?
And it was. It was a piece of cake. A nice, voluptuous, hunk of cake with 5 mouth-watering layers: Self Confidence, People Skills, Communication, Leadership Skills and what my instructor referred to as “don’t sweat the small stuff” skills. Needless to say, I was truly delighted to have been given the opportunity to be provided with such an atmosphere as the one provided by Dale Carnegie Training. I felt as though I was able to freely utilize my communication skills among a group of like-minded people, which most people don’t get to do often.
One of the first words that came out of my instructor’s mouth was “participative.” Now what does that really mean? Do I have to just simply answer the instructors questions? Raise my hand first?
Before I got the chance to internally answer my own question, I was being given instructions on the upcoming activity… Starting conversations. Suddenly, I found myself immersed in a sea of opportunity for spontaneous conversation. Mind you I am in a room with 30+ people. Whom do I talk to? What do I say? What if people think I am… just weird?
So then it happens. I meet the first person, who just so happened to be sitting next to me. So we introduce ourselves. We ask what each other does for a living and what brings each other to the class. To be honest, the very first encounter was awkward, with a capital A. But as I introduced myself to more people and more people introduced themselves to me, I found myself growing more comfortable in this unfamiliar environment. I was relaxed. I was calm. My nervous energy was finally being transferred into positive energy.
Statistics show that At any given time, 5% of the world’s population aged between 5 and 50, suffer from the fear of speaking in open to others. 3 out of every 4 people, amounting to 75%, have speech anxiety and this suffering troubles them when they deliver public speeches. An almost obvious fact that we are led to from this is that a lot of people don’t make it to the higher echelons or are not AS successful as some of their equally talented colleagues because of this speech anxiety. I find it fascinating that the fear of public speaking tops the greatest fears that trouble people, according to a popular survey. Shockingly, this fear comes ahead of people’s fear of death, spiders, heights and confined spaces. What this study shows is that people feel as though public speaking is petrifying… even more than death itself! How crazy is it that? Should public speaking REALLY be that frightening?
What I look forward to gaining from taking the 12 week Dale Carnegie Course is not only more defined effective communication skills, but I am hoping to gather all-embracing leadership skills, as well as more interpersonal skills. The first session/orientation is only the beginning. I visualize a path to communication greatness; a brick road paved with self esteem boosting pavement. Sure there will be a few road blocks on the way, but the end result I am sure will be mind blowing.
Look for my weekly article as I embark on this experience of a lifetime!