King George in the movie ‘The King’s Speech‘ was naturally left-handed, yet forced to use his right hand at a young age.
His speech therapist, Australian Lionel Logue, explains that this is quite common in stutterers.
The implication; forcing people out of their natural style can interfere with efficient mind-body coordination. Particularly in relation to communication.
We see this in a smaller way at the start of our Presentation Skills courses. Many people have been taught that they need to perform, to act differently when they make a speech. Their efforts to speak are forced, and as a result they end up stumbling and second guessing their words. They often have more anxiety.
When people realise they can drop the performance armour, they improve immediately. And much of their anxiety dissolves.
We all need to find a style that allows us to think clearly. Being yourself is the best way to achieve this. Your natural style is the most effective way to communicate – even with rough edges – as long as it’s built on solid planning skills and clear messages.
The performance approach to public speaking not only creates more anxiety, it’s less effective.
Why? A forced style puts you ‘off balance’ making it harder to think clearly and function optimally. It’s like trying to play an instrument that is not properly tuned, making it virtually impossible to get the best result.
Does a forced style encourage personality problems?
This reminds me of comments made by Michael Gelb, author of ‘Thinking Like DaVinci’ and ‘Body Learning’ about integrating your mental state with your physical style:
‘…most personality disorders are the result of conflict between 3 parts – physical, emotional and mental. Just as certain emotions such as joy or depression generally require certain configurations of musculature, the integration of these 3 elements encourages clear thinking and thoughtful decision making.’
Is it possible that an unnatural speaking method could create a conflict with natural mind/body functioning?
Could it encourage the development or maintenance of personality problems?
Possibly. I’ve seen people experience tremendous feelings of relief when dropping the forced style or rigid set of rules they’ve been taught for public speaking. Some describe this freer approach to making a speech as life changing.
For business presentations where you want to connect with your audience and get feedback from them, learning rigid performance rules and reproducing them during a presentation hinders your ability to be in the moment and think clearly.
Find your natural balance
Simply put, if you are out of balance your functioning will be less effective.
So what makes you feel balanced?
- How would you stand if you were relaxed when making a speech?
- What pace would you speak at and how would you breathe if you were comfortable in front of an audience?
If you’d like to develop your natural speaking style, consider: