Public Speaking Fellowship

Learn how to give a TED talk and master the art of effective communication
  • Starts

    January 16, 2021
  • Duration

     30 days
Network Capital subscribers can sign up for The Speaking Fellowship here
Glossophobia is the fear of public speaking. Roughly 75% of the world suffers from this social phobia to some extent. The exact cause of glossophobia is hard to pinpoint but both genetic factors and traumatic experiences of one’s past can play a role. There is, however, a silver lining. Deliberate practice can help overcome glossophobia over a period of time. 

What is deliberate practice?

Deliberate practice refers to working on a skill in a purposeful and systematic way under the guidance of a coach. The key element is to reflect on past performance, identify specific roadblocks and make consistent progress. 

Regular practice over-indexes on repetition while deliberate practice is iterative and feedback-driven. That is why deliberate practice is a critical tool to overcome glossophobia and speak effectively.

Your 2021 Goal 

2020 plunged us in front of the video conferencing tools. We were learning, working and connecting online. There was no option but to get in front of the camera and start talking. While we spoke more, we communicated less. More importantly, communicated less effectively. Things are unlikely to go back to the way they were. In this new normal, it is time all of us adapt our communication styles.  

If there is one skill you should work on in 2021, it should be effective public speaking. If you are already good, try and get better. If you struggle, like roughly ~75% of the world’s population, it is time for deliberate practice. 

Public speaking is not something you can get good at by downloading an app. Just like you can’t learn driving by reading instruction manuals, you can’t become a good public speaker with a hands-off approach. You need to immerse yourself. 

Warren Buffet and Public Speaking

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In the HBO documentary “Becoming Warren”, billionaire investor Warren Buffet says that the chains of habit are too light to be felt and too heavy to be broken. He used to be a terrible public speaker and it was inhibiting his professional life. Buffet realized that if he didn’t change his habit of keeping to himself and fix his glossophobia, he would never be able to reach his true potential. After seeing Dale Carnegie’s public speaking course in the local newspaper, Buffet enrolled in his cohort-based immersion program. Though not comfortable, he  stuck to Carnegie’s program. 
Craving comfort all the time is a recipe for disaster. Success in life comes down to the number of difficult conversations you are willing to have – with yourself and with the groups of people you work with. But to have thoughtful conversations that are difficult in nature, you need to learn to speak effectively, like Warren Buffet did. 

Buffet says that learning public speaking was the best investment he ever made. It turned out to be an asset that continues to pay dividends even today - 90 years and counting. Had he not taken corrective measures, his discomfort with public speaking would have been a huge liability. 

Should I learn to speak well because Warren Buffet said so?

You shouldn’t try and get better at public speaking because you want to prove a point to someone somewhere. FOMO-induced goal setting rarely works. To understand why, let’s explore the two components of motivation. 
  1. Extrinsic Motivation: Extrinsic motivation refers to behavior that is driven by external rewards such as fame, grades, and praise.
  2. Intrinsic Motivation: Intrinsic motivation is the act of doing something without any obvious external rewards. The pursuit is the pleasure and the reward. 

Intrinsic motivation matters for public speaking. Public speaking is a way for you to share your story and explore a deep connect with the world. You can’t be authentic if fame and praise are at the back of your mind. While practicing and delivering your talk/presentation, you need to “be here now”, as the spiritualist Ram Dass suggests in his best-selling book. 

The Utilitarian Trap

As you get better at public speaking, there will be heaps of tangible benefits along the way. You will-      
  • Get promoted faster
  • Hire better/ find better work opportunities
  • More people will come to you with new opportunities
  • You will negotiate better

This list goes on. You get the drift. However, this utilitarian way of looking at fundamental skills like public speaking misses the point of learning, especially learning in a way that lasts. 

Interested in enrolling?

  • Specific techniques to speak well
  • A community to practice with
  • Guidance of a TED speaker
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Capstone Project

At the end of the Fellowship, you will be ready to deliver a mini TED talk (3-5 minutes). We will coach you, work on your drafts and help you put yourself out there. Remember you can’t get better hiding in a corner

Towards the end, we will share your talk (if you agree) with our 100,000+ strong community. 

Excited? Nervous? You should be both. We promise to make it worth your while and ensure you enjoy the ride.

Timeline

The Fellowship starts on January 16 and goes on for 30 days. All classes and practice sessions will be in the evening/night so you can carry on with your regular work/study without any challenge.

Wrapping it up

The dividend on your public speaking investment will pay off for the rest of your career. Warren Buffett concluded advice to a bunch of business school students with this - 

"Right now, I would pay $100,000 for 10 percent of the future earnings of any of you, so if you're interested, see me after class."

"Now, you can improve your value by 50 percent just by learning communication skills--public speaking. If that's the case, see me after class and I'll pay you $150,000."

Interested in enrolling?

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