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Monday, 21 November 2016 02:20

I'm really bad at public speaking/debating. How can I improve?

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Communication Works for those who work at itToday, we had a mock town hall debate. I was so nervous that I stuttered at times. I also felt I was a bad debater. I tend to have excellent ideas. I even took a class on public speaking and I feel that I didn’t benefit from it. What do you suggest in the best MOST EFFECTIVE way to improve?


Well to start off with I would suggest rephrasing how you view yourself and your recent performance. Just because you didn’t do as well as you would have liked, doesn’t mean that you were ‘bad.’ You just weren’t as good as you could have been.

You ask for themost effectiveway to improve. Unfortunately, skill building doesn’t work that way. There isn’t one way that is guaranteed to improve any skill. It is a series of positive forward steps that create proficiency and expertise. These are maximized by having someone experienced in the skills that you want to develop, provide you with constructive feedback.

You say that you have taken a class on public speaking. If you still have access to your class notes, I would suggest rereading them for suggestions. You can’t learn public speaking by osmosis i.e. absorption, you actually have to get up and do it. Speak up every chance you get. Speak often.

Debating is one form of public speaking and is quite challenging. If you haven’t already, I would suggest researching ‘how to debate.’ I would expect that one of the techniques would be to practice arguing from both sides of the issue.

You might want to consider creating your own group of like-minded friends that are interested in developing their speaking/debating skills. I’m not sure how you are, but if you are over 18 years you could join a local Toastmasters club. If you are under 18 and there is a local Toastmasters club, if you contact them, they may be interested in running a Speechcraft program at your school. Speechcraft is a 4 to 8 week crash course in public speaking. I would suspect that it would be more beneficial than a school, academic-style of course.

If your recollection of your recent debate is still fresh in your mind, there can be value in reviewing how things went. Were there points that you could have made differently? What do you think caused you to be so nervous? Were you prepared to debate the issue?

Public speaking is closely related to self-confidence. As your public speaking skills improve, your self-confidence will improve. As your self-confidence improves … well your public speaking skills will improve … if you practice at improving them even more.

This has been a long way of telling you that I don’t believe that there is one effective way to improve. However, there is a lot of effective skill-building strategies you can use to hone your public speaking skills.

Thanks for the question and good luck with your next debate.

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Rae Stonehouse

Author Bio:

Rae A. Stonehouse is a Canadian born author & speaker. His professional career as a Registered Nurse working predominantly in psychiatry/mental health, has spanned four decades.

Rae has embraced the principal of CANEI (Constant and Never-ending Improvement) as promoted by thought leaders such as Tony Robbins and brings that philosophy to each of his publications and presentations.

Rae has dedicated the latter segment of his journey through life to overcoming his personal inhibitions. As a 20+ year member of Toastmasters International he has systematically built his self-confidence and communicating ability. He is passionate about sharing his lessons with his readers and listeners. His publications thus far are of the self-help, self-improvement genre and systematically offer valuable sage advice on a specific topic. He is a long-time member of Kelowna Flying Solo Toastmasters and is the driving force behind its long-term success. 

His writing style can be described as being conversational. As an author Rae strives to have a one-to-one conversation with each of his readers, very much like having your own personal self-development coach. Rae is known for having a wry sense of humour that features in his publications.

Author of Self-Help Downloadable E-Books:

Power Networking for Shy PeoplePower Networking for Shy People: Tips & Techniques for Moving from Shy to Sly!

PROtect Yourself!PROtect Yourself! Empowering Tips & Techniques for Personal Safety: A Practical Violence Prevention Manual for Healthcare Workers.

E=Emcee SquaredE=Emcee SquaredTips & Techniques to Becoming a Dynamic Master of Ceremonies.

Power of PromotionPower of Promotion: On-line Marketing for Toastmasters Club Growth


Phone Rae 250-451-6564 or

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Copyright 2015 & 2016 Rae Stonehouse. The above document may be freely copied and distributed as long as the author’s name and contact info remain attached.

To learn more about Rae A. Stonehouse, visit the Wonderful World of Rae Stonehouse at http://raestonehouse.com

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