There was a time when only those with special status were given the privilege of speaking out in a public manner.
Back in the day, kings, emperors, generals, actors, and professional orators were ‘given the floor’ to speak freely to the rest of us. We plebeians were expected to fill our seats and pay attention.
Today, We Are All Public Speakers
Yes, things have changed! We’ve all gained our corner of the stage with the advent of professional journalism, broadcasting, and now, social media and personalized recording technologies. Anyone who wants a public voice can have one. In fact, the minute you open a social media account, you effectively become a public speaker of some type.
That doesn’t mean that we all know how to do it, to do it well, or that we have the confidence to take the stage, however. While we may have a voice, way may not have taken possession of it.
Mastering ‘Speaking Up – Speaking Out’
It is a longer road for some of us than for others. Were you a youngest child who’s family attention hung on your every cherished word? Or, did you grow up in a household where you competed for attention, or where children should be seen but not heard?
Did starting school give you a whole new platform to play and influence or bring new levels of challenge and humility. Chances are, we’ve all been laughed at for saying just the perfect thing at just the wrong time, but the reactions we received are likely as diverse as our ability to handle them. And we haven’t even started on social media yet ….
The point is that where public speaking is concerned we all have a history and, for most of us, it’s fraught.
I Dropped Out of Three Professional Acting Classes Before I Could Speak Up in One
I grew up a reserved oldest daughter in a house full of boisterous, fun boys. I grew up on stage dancing … never opened my mouth. I grew up cheering along my favorite high school teams, but struggling to say hello to the players. I knew I had a voice, I wrote like crazy. But those inner words, my deeper self, rarely saw the light of day. I would have been mortified.
When I moved to NY, one of my dreams was to train and try my skills as an actor. I signed up for three different acting classes (yes, on Broadway), and dropped out of each. When the time came to speak up, to express and reveal through my voice, I couldn’t.
I won’t bore you with the story, but I learned some deep lessons about what happens when you don’t own, don’t use your voice. I worked hard to figure out what my voice was, why the challenges, and how to overcome. Acting did ultimately help. I had a breakthrough! I began to add speaking up, speaking out to my quiet expressions of art, photography and writing ….
I’m Still on That Journey
But, I’ve learned a lot and I love sharing it. Not just the information, the support. I love the experience of being in the presence of humans learning to enjoy their voice and speak their truth. It’s an honor to provide a wing as they learn to fly.
If I’ve learned one thing, it’s that this is an aspect of ourselves that’s hard to practice and master if we do not feel safe. That’s why CEJ Studio is a private space for public speakers, a safe space to learn, experiment, practice.
Now That’s A Public Speaker!
What an opportunity … to grow from those old experiences, fears, or wounds into the joy of embracing our own voice. We can make a chorus, but the voice is uniquely ours. There’s no other like it!
So, what’s a public speaker? Yes, someone with something relevant, revealing, interesting, motivating, inspiring to say … someone who’s ready say it.