Just recently at a Toastmasters Open House, I gave a speech where I talked about the real benefit of learning how to speak in public. Sure, most people say they join Toastmasters in order to learn how to speak in public, to hone existing skills, or to get over shyness doing so.

What happens in fact is something much more than learning to stand up in front of people and speak. I have watched people come into our club, who are so nervous about giving their first talk, that I am sometimes amazed at their courage to join in the first place. Eventually they get up and do their first talk, realize that they survived it, and sooner or later give their second and third talk.

While all of this is going on, what I see happening is reflected in their body language, and their voice. The uncertain uncomfortable stance, eyes looking anywhere but at the audience, hands painfully seeking refuge from focused stares, eventually settle down. The speaker begins to hold their audience's attention with fixed eyes, the shoulders relax, and the feet take a purposeful stance.

As the speaker's confidence increases he/she begins to play more with vocal variety, punctuating speech with volume or whispers, designed to push and pull the audience towards predetermined emotions. The speaker knows that the audience is theirs to command. The speaker has arrived.

This is not a description of techniques learned, rather, it reveals the process by which a person, thinking that they are learning how to speak in public, discovers the strengths within that make public speaking a natural extension of all that they are.

If you walk by a public school during recess, you hear the unmistakable din of children voicing their laughter, anger, excitement, irritation, silliness, and any other emotion that comes by. They are giving speeches, albeit, short and to the point, but they are expressing themselves in public for the world to hear, with the least self-restraint.

There, but for a few years, are we. To explore what happened between that time of free expression to our present state of fear, doubt, and tacit belief that others will not be interested in what we have to say, is beyond the scope of this article.

What I am saying is that, when you decide to learn how to become a public speaker, what happens is that you really learn to reconnect with that spirit within that always had the capacity to orate with feeling. While you think that you are learning techniques, and of course you are, you are also discovering the strengths that lay within.

In essence, you become a better speaker, because you become more genuinely you; more self assured, more comfortable, and more the person you were always meant to be.

Leaning how to become a better speaker, is a goal unto itself, and even if you never speak in front of a large audience, you will have gained something, or rather, regained something that always belonged to you.

Author's Bio: 

Phil L. Méthot is a Montreal area, motivational speaker and author. He is the president of Pointe-Claire Toastmasters, and works with companies to improve employee speaking skills.
His website is Methotology.com