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Confidence and Public Speaking

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by Dr. LeQuita Hopgood Porter, BA, JD, MBA, MDiv, DMin

Practice Makes Perfect! 

Shoot for perfection, Settle for Excellence!  

These are two of the mottos I have lived by for most of my adult life. Now to be sure, I am more than aware of the fact that perfection is outside of my grasp…or anybody else’s for that matter. But when we consider shooting for perfection, we raise the possibility that our final results will be much better, because we set out to reach for the best!  

We are what we determine to be and to become. And when we push ourselves, we can reveal the fullness of who we really are. We don’t rely on what is easy, but instead we press forward with the goal of being our absolute best. Our absolute best is what we call excellence. When we give the best of our time, talent, attention to detail and effort, we realize Excellence and this practice can be applied to anything we set out to achieve. 

Nervous Black lady with her hand over her mouth.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Is fear holding you back? 

Research has shown that for many years the fear of Public Speaking is viewed as the greatest fear for many people – even ranking above the fear of death!  

Can you believe that? 

In recent years, the fear of Public Speaking has been combined with overall social phobia or social anxieties, which involve the general fear of interacting with other people for fear of being judged or worse yet, deemed a failure.  Conversely, in some research since 2017 in the U.S., Public Speaking is moving away from the top of the list relative to the greatest fears, but it continues to be a part of the list of fears that many people have. Let me submit to you, this just should not be – especially since there are tried and true methods to conquer this fear and allow your voice to be heard!

Nervous looking young Black man in a library.
Photo by Kampus Production from Pexels

Underneath the overwhelming fear of Public Speaking are issues of self esteem. Many are afraid to feel examined by others for fear that they may come up lacking. But the problem may exist because the focus is on the thoughts of others, even when we don’t know who the people are, and we certainly don’t know what any other person is truly thinking! Oftentimes, we may project our own feelings of insecurity and inadequacy onto others, and believe they might be judging us, when we dare to seize our opportunity to speak.

Consider this possibility

When we dare to speak out on any topic, those who are listening are really hoping to hear what we have to say… to learn something they possibly do not already know. Many are eager to hear another perspective, a view of something from our vantage point that might better inform what they think they already know. Contrary to popular belief, most people of substance may not be judging our appearance, our demeanor, our style or our ability or lack thereof – many may merely be waiting to hear what we have to say. And our goal is to communicate something of importance—if not, then we shouldn’t be speaking!

Confident Black lady who looks like a teacher in front of a white board with an armload of textbooks.
Photo by Katerina Holmes from Pexels

Ask yourself, what is my true purpose in speaking in a public setting? Is it to be admired or adored, to be applauded or cheered, to be measured on my ability to speak persuasively or passionately? Or is it to effectively communicate something of importance to someone else? 

To be sure, a time will come when we are applauded and cheered, and it can evoke good feelings, and there are times when we will be evaluated on our style and our appearance, which can affect our communication. But the speaker’s goal must be to succeed in communicating, whatever the subject may be.  Our goal must always be to do whatever we can to make our communication clear, concise and understandable!   

The ‘3 Ps’

The only way we can be our absolute best at Public Speaking is to prepare, practice and then perform…over and over again. The EPEA’s Public and Professional Speaking course is designed to be a confidence builder.  We will learn the ‘3 Ps’ and become experts at watching them work.  And this course will help you, as a speaker, move beyond the fear and other distractions that hinder you from effectively communicating to others, and to teach you how to keep the main thing, the main thing.  

The only thing worse than being fearful of speaking in public, is to miss the opportunity to address that fear and overcome it. This is your moment, it is finally your turn to speak, make it count! 

Black man holding Black toddler girl and giving a high five, both smiling!
Photo by Gabby K from Pexels

Dr. LeQuita H. Porter

Dr. LeQuita H. Porter is a licensed and ordained minister and holds a Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) degree from Acadia Divinity College of Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada and a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree from Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey. She is an experienced attorney and business consultant, holding a Juris Doctorate of the Law (J.D) degree, a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) degree with a concentration in Marketing, and a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree with a concentration in Economics. She also has a wealth of practical experience in Christian service, business, law, management and administration.

Dr. Porter has served in various capacities—as a Pastor, Entrepreneur, Teacher, Trainer, Child Abuse/Sex Crimes Prosecutor, Marketing Manager, Business and Strategic Planning Consultant, Mediator, Counselor, Administrator and Workshop Facilitator. Dr. Porter is the founder and former Pastor of Kingdom Bible Christian Church Of Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fl. – a nonprofit Christian “kingdom-building” ministry. Under the KBF, Inc. umbrella, she birthed the Kingdom Bible Christian Church Of Tampa, FL in 2004. Since 2010, She has served as the Godly proud Senior Pastor of the East Preston United Baptist Church Of Nova Scotia, Canada.

Dr. Porter has spoken in many venues — in the Church, legal, government and corporate arenas. She is experienced in strategic planning for profit and nonprofit organizations and has led many congregations in the process of Leadership Development and Planning. Dr. Porter has done extensive motivational speaking and leadership training to groups of adults and youth.

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