How It Started
Thirty years ago, I took a Public Speaking course in college called “Oral persuasion." Halfway through I realized that the course was not going well. After 5 weeks many of the students were just as uncomfortable and speaking just as quickly as on the first day. As an actress “I could see that in this class in the teachers pedagogic method of imparting information was not working because it was conducted in a teaching style that involved lectures about public speaking with suggestions and tips about eye contact, body language and advise rather than practical methods for training the mind and body of the students to relax and concentrate on what they were saying. In other words, any real techniques for speaking well in public were missing. As a result, this lecture approach did not in any way fix or change the obviously nervous students and their confusing presentations. Since I was a professional actress and had spent years as the Artistic Director of the Dove Theatre Company at St Peters Church in New York City I decided to teach my own Public Speaking class. I intended to introduce a new and original Mind/Body Public Speaking training method that was based upon my years of experience training actors. I used original exercises that I had developed for enhancing concentration and developing performance skills. I called the Public Speaking class “Talkpower Training”
And so I began conducting “Talkpower Training Public Speaking Workshops” for eight 2 hour weekly sessions at Baruch college in the Continuing Education Department.
After several weeks of teaching my Talkpower class, I observed a radical change in the behavior of several of the students, who had been extremely tense and nervous when they first stood up and faced the class. Once they began participating in the new Talkpower repetition drills, movement routines and concentration exercises, with correct breathing procedures, their previously rapid-fire (get it over with) speech patterns became much calmer. Also, anxious behavior like trembling voice, shaky hands, and legs, constant shifting from side to side, mental confusion and memory loss became remodeled into an ability to think, speak, stand still and speak in a new and comfortable manner. After just three Talkpower sessions, when each one of these students spoke in front of the class, the lack of tension was immediately obvious. In other words, after working with my new Talkpower movement exercises, these previously intensely nervous students felt and looked much calmer and in control when speaking in front of people who were looking at them. Most significant was the fact that they were able to pause and think quietly without the umms (non-verbal fillers) when they were asked a question. This change of behavior was so dramatic and in stark contrast to the previously nervous halting runaway speech the students exhibited when they first introduced themselves. The rest of the class was surprised by this rapid progress. The other students who were just a little nervous, but not as anxious, also had a significant change of behavior in their level of comfort and confidence as they experienced a new ability to pause plus a new smoothness and polish in their talks. As the eight week workshop progressed and the students practiced again and again with the original Talkpower movement exercises they all eventually integrated their new performance skills on a muscle memory level and were able to present an 8 to 10 minute presentation with authority and confidence. Weeks after the course the many letters of gratitude that I received convinced me that the Public Speaking skills were permanent in the same way that swimming skills or learning how to ride a bicycle lasts for a lifetime. Eventually, I realized that the Talkpower exercises were causing something profound to be happening to the brains of my students. But what was it? I had no idea. The answer would come years later.
Originally I had not intended for my Talkpower Training program to be designed for people who had a serious fear of public speaking as I was unfamiliar with this problem. But since the Talkpower Mind/Body training was so successful for people who had not been able to overcome their fear of public speaking in standard programs I decided to change the direction of my Public Speaking Workshops. My intention now was to concentrate upon people who suffered from the most serious and intense fear of facing an audience. At that time, I had done no research about public speaking phobia. What I did have was the realization that my original Talkpower Mind/Body methodology, in the form of hands-on movement exercises routines and repetition drills for concentration enhancement, was working. With these techniques, I was able to consistently train group after group of participants to speak comfortably and well in front of an audience. And so I began investigating this unusual turn of events, reaching out to people who had a serious fear of public speaking: finding students who had given up all hope of ever developing a normal and appropriate ability to speak in front of people who were looking at them. I was searching for desperate professionals, willing to try the new and unusual Talkpower concentration exercises and drills. Believe me, I was surprised by the number of people who responded to this outreach. Each workshop produced such profound changes in my students that I was convinced that something unusual was happening to the brains of my students. But what was it? I had no idea. The answer would come years later.
Talkpower: A Panic Clinic For Public Speaking Is Born
The results for the Panic Clinic were consistently positive. People came to the class nervous and terrified of speaking in front of an audience or at a meeting, and by the end of the Workshop, had acquired new skills and confidence. Eventually, I left Baruch and founded my own Talkpower business, training students in 2 day fourteen hour long weekend workshops, changing the name to Talkpower: “A Panic Clinic For Public Speaking." Many students were so excited by their new unbelievable public speaking ability that they expressed a desire to test out their new found skills as soon as possible.
WHAT IS THIS NEW BEHAVIOR?
New behaviors include:
Significantly reduced anxiety
Reduced rapid heartbeat
Rapid speech speed reduced
Feelings of self-consciousness reduced
Uncontrolled body movement eliminated (Shaky legs, Waving arms, Shaky voice
The ability to pause
Participation at meetings
Clear thinking in front of an audience
End of avoidance
Confidence in front of an audience
Ability to organize thoughts, ideas clearly and logically for a presentation
Ability to use stories, metaphors, and examples in a presentation
TALKPOWER: "TOTALLY DIFFERENT FROM THE STANDARD APPROACH"
If you have ever taken a Public Speaking class in high school college or at a cooperate training program you will soon discover that the Talkpower method is totally different from the standard approach of lectures, advise, tips, hints, suggestions about positive thinking, body language, eye contact, humiliating video recording, and visualization.
Contrast that approach with the Talkpower training Mind/Body methodology that includes original Talkpower repetitive movement exercises and routines that train the brain to give you the necessary skills for facing an audience with confidence, enhanced concentration and self-control. As a result, even though people are looking at you, you will no longer be thinking those negative and fearful thoughts about them and what they think of you. You will have the ability to focus all of your attention upon your presentation. With the Talkpower hands on step by step breakthrough techniques as experienced in the Panic Clinic Workshop you will own the skills for speaking well in front of an audience for the rest of your life.
The Talkpower Action Formula
From the very first class I could see that the students had no idea about how to properly organize a presentation for a listening audience. What they had learned in school was how to write reports and papers for a reading audience. The simplistic beginning middle and end advise they received in was not in any way helpful. So delivering an interesting and informative talk or pitch was completely out of their skill set. This embarrassment about the poor quality of their presentations was certainly contributing to their nervousness. So if I wanted to have a complete Public Speaking program I had to develop a practical plan for putting information together in an interesting and logical way that would be useful for my students.
Following up on this realization I formulated a new “Talkpower: a Panic Clinic For Public Speaking Workshop “curriculum. that included a structured program of progressive steps that would give students the instructions they needed for creating an interesting and cohesive talk of any length quickly and easily.
As a result, in addition to the movement exercises, drills and routines for overcoming the intense anxiety of Public Speaking I developed “The Talkpower Action Formula," a simple step by step system for organizing information into a real substantive beginning, middle and end structure that would finally give presenters a quick and sensible method for composing presentations. In addition I created a file of original templates to guide and jump start those students suffering from “thought blocking ” into an easy story-telling process that would interlace ideas and information into an informative, interesting, and persuasive presentation: A system that could easily be integrated into a Power Point program.
FOURTEEN THOUSAND LIFE CHANGING EXPERIENCES
And so In the years that followed, Talkpower: A Panic Clinic For Public Speaking, system step by step program, of concentration enhancement exercises, drills, and routines, plus the Talkpower Action Plan was formatted into a two day weekend workshop also available. Internationally as a one on one session in an International Skype class. Over the years I have had the privilege of working with more than fourteen thousand participants. Talkpower: A Panic Clinic For Public Speaking had proven to be a life changing event. In each case dramatic relief occurred. Often within the very first few hours of the Workshop. I can proudly say that 95 percent of the professionals, students, and foreign students, participating in the Talkpower Workshops who previously had been unable to speak in front of an audience were now able to speak at a meeting or make a presentation, mothers and fathers were able to make a toast or say a few words at a wedding or deliver a heartfelt eulogy, speak at church or at community political or other meetings testify in court even make a Key Note Address. Now, by participating in the Mind /Body training of the Talkpower Panic Clinic workshops and the International Skype availability people could look forward to a future of visibility and a life forever changed from” the silent hidden behind the scenes” role they had previously played to a life of self - expression., career mobility possible leadership and success. I still had no idea of how my Mind Body programs effect upon the brain was causing such radical changes in my students behavior. The answer would come years later.