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Elliot Essman's innovative public speaking training techniques have helped a wide variety of people become confident, effective public speakers. Whether you are in business, one of the professions, government, education or public service, Elliot can show you how to break through barriers and reach new heights of self-development. Elliot is located in Westchester County, New York and also serves clients in New York City.

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You Are Your Own Model as a Public Speaker (From Elliot Essman's book, Public Speaking: Face It. Don't Force It)

Every quality public speaker on this planet has learned from the example of others. The irony is that every truly successful speaker must at some point forsake all others, and develop an original speaking style and approach. The true speaker must seek out and destroy the self-sabotaging “inner speaker” that lurks inside. That's often the key to public speaking training.

As we grow to adulthood and hear speaker after speaker, we often subconsciously combine the voices of parents, teachers, politicians or celebrities into a model of how we think a speaker should perform. This inner speaker is a trap. The only voice we should (or can) speak with is our own.

The process of self-sabotage based on a damaging inner speaker model is subtle. You start with the adrenaline you get from the need to give a speech. Yes, you will do it, even ace it. You then quickly have a problem as fear shows its ugly face. It is at this low point that you try to access the inner speaker model. Hope lifts you, but only briefly. You fall into another low as you find it impossible to live up to the inner speaker (after all, it is somebody else). The time to speak arrives, and either the presentation is a mess or it is just not what it could be. At least that’s over!

The honest public speaker follows a much simpler model: agree to do the speech; resolve fears and second thoughts; get the job done, directly, without wasting energy and time (because the message is important).

Note that the self-sabotaging public speaker first does a good thing: “I won’t give in to fear. I am going to go ahead and do the speech. No one will accuse me of chickening out!” Yet then the speaker immediately does a bad thing: looks to the inner speaker model. “I don’t have to be afraid, since I’ve got my inner speaker. All I have to do is reach in and touch that inner speaker in me.”

Trial and error is about the only way to bring out the inner speaker model so that you can recognize it and eliminate it. If you can video-record your speaking performance, you will be able to analyze yourself and recognize the instances when you seemed to be trying to be someone else, as well as the moments when your voice rang true. On doing this kind of analysis, speakers often find that the prepared segments of their speeches appear artificial, while the spontaneous portions seem more in character. With practice, you can make it all seem natural.