Being one of the most competitive people I know, I am deeply grateful for the non-competitive spirit of my 25-year yoga practice. It is mine. It is unique. It has changed and so have I. There are no rewards for doing the pose more photographically than anyone else in the room. In a culture pulsing with comparison and competition, this practice is a relief. And that is only the beginning of the benefits I experience.

What does this have to do with public speaking? Everything. Most of us hold ourselves up to some cookie cutter idea of “a great speaker.” And usually we don’t measure up to these ideals. When working with clients, I often spend time unwinding the anxieties we all experience: first time jitters, uncertainty,  self-consciousness.  Each new presentation is a new beginning and we often clutter the process with unreal expectations and desired outcomes that actually slow down our arrival at clarity, confidence, and sheer excitement to deliver.

I tell all my clients to create a “Notes to Self” folder. Each presentation, speech, conversation is a learning opportunity. What worked? What went well? What didn’t? What will you change the next time? From a reminder “not to wear that too tight jacket,” to “start preparing six weeks out,” we begin to create a personalized and useful tool to help each of us develop and strengthen our own unique and true speaker practice.  Enjoy yours.

– Charlotte Dietz