Speaking Tips - Toastmasters! - Speak Often
The writer speaking to an audience of 150 Probians
Speaking tips - Toastmasters! - Speak often
Twenty years or more ago when I was a trainer I was introduced to a well known adage regarding ‘Learning.’ Like so many others, I was told that learning falls into four overlapping stages. The first of these is Unconscious Incompetence. Here we know nothing regarding a certain skill, or are unknowingly ignorant about a subject, whatever it might be. We don’t even think about it. Ignorance is bliss.
There are over 1740 Probus Clubs in Austalia so opportunity knocks
Unconcious imcompetence is followed by Conscious incompetence
The second one is Conscious Incompetence. We are now aware that we know little or nothing about the subject and yet we want to learn about it - or how to do it. We’re aware we need to learn about it, are motivated, yet self conscious about our not being able to undertake this task very well. We’re beginners.
Most Probus clubs need a guest speaker every month
Conscious competence is superseded by Unconscious competence
The third is Conscious Competence. We’ve now learned a quite a lot about this thing we wished to learn - but are very aware of our subject matter. Our newfound ability tends to be at the forefront of our thinking. We’re still monitoring ourselves. Still wondering how we are doing compared with what is expected of us. We’re well on our way, but we haven’t made it yet.
Finally we reach the fourth stage: Unconscious Competence
Toastmasters - soak up the applause - you deserve it...
When we've forgotten about the 'do's and 'don'ts' we've reach the first stage of excellence
As a public speaker, we generally don’t start to enjoy speaking until we get to this fourth and last stage. When we can get up there and forget all about the ‘dos’ and ‘don’t’s’ we find we’re starting to enjoy it. At this stage, thinking about techniques has now blended into an unconscious way of doing things. We’ve now assumed that all the right habits are there. Those first few words might find us in the Third Stage, but by the time we’ve said a sentence or two, we’re into the Fourth. And unless something really untoward happens, we stay there right throughout. We’ve arrived.
...or perhaps we've just boarded the bus, for our journey will continue...
There's nothing like being the keynoter at a big formal dinner
The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement
Of course, there is still room for improvement. We might not have developed all the right habits. And this is where continuing membership of Toastmasters is so important. We never know it all. But by this time we do know a lot. We are, after all, in the Fourth Stage.
So what’s the message?
It is that such accomplishment can only be brought about by one thing. Practice! Experience! - speaking before a live audience many times. All the theory in the world, all the reading, all the tuition and the CDs and DVDs – these generally come into those first and second areas: Conscious Incompetence and Conscious Competence. When we are conscious of our acting out, we are concerned with ourselves: how we are performing. But when we reach the fourth stage, Unconscious Competence, we have forgotten about ourselves and are now concentrating of the message. We’re concerned with what our listeners are getting from us. At this point we really are accomplished speakers.
Get out there and speak!
So, for all of you Toastmasters who aspire to become the best speaker you can be, the advice is, of course, “Get out there and speak! Do it often! Do it as much as is practicable given your circumstances.” Then, one day, you will realize that you’ve not only put all of those things you used to be concerned about out of your mind, you will love speaking as you’ve never loved it before. And yet, you will know that you’re still learning…will be learning for the rest of your life.
I hope you gained something from Speaking Tip - Toastmasters! - Speak Often.
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