Population 19,163. The number of people who currently call Shelbyville, Indiana home. Although I live in Nashville now, I count myself among the 19,000. As small as the midwestern town is, the sense of belonging a person who lives there feels is palpable. Shelbyville, in and of itself is a community for me. Whenever I visit, I know I’ll run into individuals I trust and who trust me. Rarely do I have to censor my words or tiptoe around conversations. But, most importantly, there are always people I can count on at home. While Shelbyville is a community I keep close to my heart, groups like it exist everywhere.
We are human. And as such, we segment our ourselves into multiple, distinct boxes based on our personalities, interests, and objectives. The flip side of isolation, belonging is a product of joining a community. When we get involved with others who share our passions, our brains tell us “hey, there are people like me in this big, wide world.” Then, we become happier, more motivated, and all-around healthier.
Public speaking is a terrifying experience for some, a tedious task for others, and an absolute privilege for few. No matter where public speakers fall on the spectrum, they need a space where they don’t feel alone. Here are some additional advantages of signing up for a public speaking community:
Let’s face it. Your friends and family will be hard-pressed to give you 100%, Grade A, honest feedback. The members of your public speaking community won’t have nearly the number of biases as other audiences for your presentation rehearsal runs will have. Share your content and design with the group and you’ll receive substantial action items, leading to an improved look and feel for your deck.
You would be amazed at the network of knowledgeable, driven, and enthusiastic individuals that reside in your area. While living in Indiana, I exercised regularly with a running group that pushed me to increase my speed and strength. In Nashville, I participate in podcasting group that has enlightened me with information such as how to build a value-driven content strategy and why A/B testing is the only way to know for sure what is working and what is not. A public speaking community will allow you to draw from a pool of local expertise.
Did your presentation progress smoothly? Or were there a few hiccups you’d rather not tell the wife (or boss) about? Whether the outcome of your presentation was positive or negative, your public speaking community will be your best shoulder to cry on. Mainly because it won’t allow you to cry for too long. After mentally replaying the presentation and highlighting areas for improvement, the healing process will begin. You’ll come out of the meeting with a renewed commitment to your public speaking success and a list of ideas for enhancing what you’ve got.
Discover a public speaking community near you!
Attending a local Toastmasters class seems like a fairly logical first step in the journey to finding your first public speaking community. Another option, however, would be to scour the repository of Meetup groups in your city or town. If you don’t have a public speaking community, create one! Mastering the art of public speaking demands a community effort. What will you do to discover your own?
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