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Owning Your Inner Critic

Within each of us lies some self doubt particularly as it relates to public speaking. This is because we share so much of ourselves when we get up in front of a group people. Our internal dialogues often reflect:

  • Will they like me?
  • Will they get my message?
  • Am I good enough?

Naturally, sometimes we feel inadequate or fear the judgement of others and this keeps us from trying and worst yet – improving When we look deeper and honestly listen to our own internal dialog we have an inner critic at work. Our inner critic is often filled with negative self-talk assuring us we will not succeed or even improve even as the fact is quite the opposite.

I personally believe anyone can learn to be a better public speaker or communicator and it is a matter of the right training, practice and consistent use of the right techniques. Try these techniques and let me know your experience.

Externalizing the Internal

We can externalize our “inner dialog” and therefore better understand and alter it to a positive end. We do so by practicing the following:

  • Give your negative internal voice a name
  • Let is speak freely without censor
  • Write what it says down
  • Now address it by name and question its validity
  • Ask is my negative internal dialog reasonable and sensible? Should I listen to it?

Positive Outcomes

Most often, when I do these exercises with my students – they come to the conclusion that their beliefs surrounding public speaking are almost always negative and unrealistic. As a result students tend to understand that any negative attitudes they had in the past are not worth investing in. They start to own that inner critic and even turn it positive. So tell me – what does your inner critic speak to?

Over Coming Public Speaking Challenges

This simple practice of owning your own critic can be a empowering one. We are able to separate our own internal beliefs, think about them rationally and explore whether they are worth holding on to. We can uniquely consider a new positive set of beliefs that might empower our success. This exercise, among the 100’s of others we teach at the Institute of Public Speaking empowers positive change. I hope you will give it a try and experience the positive outcomes as a speaker and a leader for yourself.

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