To enhance my public speaking skills, I’ve joined Toastmasters. In Toastmasters every speaker is evaluated using a set format. One of the areas evaluated is the speaker’s degree of comfortableness. When evaluating any speaker, the evaluator is asked to assess “How comfortable was the speaker”?
What is ‘comfortable’?
It’s not that easy to extrapolate into specific components, but its presence or absence is evident. It will be communicated by a person’s confidence when speaking and this will be conveyed by their non-verbal and verbal communication. So what the person says, how they say it, and their accompanying gestures.
Why is being comfortable assessed and evaluated in Toastmasters? Because comfortableness, the degree of comfort, being comfortable, impacts on personal credibility, which in turn impacts on the credence given to a speaker. If someone conveys a lack of confidence in what they’re saying, it engenders doubt and a lack of conviction, and the listener thinks “If you don’t believe what they are saying, why should I”?
When asked how he was able to win an Oscar for ‘The Silence of the lambs’ Sir Anthony Hopkins replied “I learnt my lines”. He knew his ‘lines’ so well that he was able to convince his audience he was the person he played.
One way to feel confident and comfortable, and communicate this to your audience is to ‘learn your lines’. To know ’inside out and upside down’ what it is you are talking about and to have practiced and rehearsed what you are going to say.
© Krista Powell Edwards 2021