Sue's Story

As a young school student I distinctly remember nearly all of my school reports pretty much saying the same thing ‘conscientious student but lacks confidence’. Of course, being a painfully shy child by nature, I remember all the panicky feelings and emotions, such as ‘Will I catch the teacher’s glance and have to answer a question in front of the whole classroom?’ OMG!!! And yes, being so very envious of all those cool, outgoing kids around me. Shyness has been my curse, holding me back on many fronts particularly as a younger person. With the passage of time I believe my inner confidence has grown with life’s experiences and the wisdoms of age and maturity.

I reckon shyness and public speaking would have to be polar opposites.

I think there’s nothing better than listening to a really good speech. It’s amazing the impact of a powerful good speech. You can walk away feeling uplifted, exhilarated or a speech may reach out to our very soul. Some people are just naturally good confident speakers where their speech leaves a lasting impression. Awesome! And some of us have to work and practise a lot harder at putting together a speech but the underlying thing is, I believe, public speaking is one great way to build your own confidence.

I first came across Speaking Made Easy in Maroondah approximately 3 years ago via my local newspaper and after some thought, tentatively made contact. I’m so glad I did. It has been a great decision for me and so rewarding in many ways. I look forward to our fortnightly meetings where everyone, in a casual friendly atmosphere, is open and encouraging to each other. We have our cuppas at the end of our meetings and talk about anything so it has great social rewards too. I have made some lovely friends.

Of course, it is so true that practice makes perfect. However, it is all about having a go, slowly building your confidence with each speech that you give and taking on board the gentle tips and advice given to improve your performance for the next time. I always find it incredibly interesting that with our chosen speech topic for the night, each of us will present with our own take on it – our own perspective and interpretation.

I’ve always had a thirst for learning and gaining knowledge on all sorts of things, so I’m always hugely intrigued to listen to each other talk on various topics or their personal experiences. It makes for such interesting listening.

I’ve also really enjoyed going to the Speaking Made Easy annual events that are held throughout the year, allowing plenty of scope for all of us to challenge ourselves even further. They are great fun where all the groups get together. I’ve participated as one of the guest speakers at our annual luncheon and our end of year Dietrich Memorial Speaking Competition and Dinner function and have really valued the learning experience gained. I’m proud of myself for having a go and putting myself out there. I’m also really looking forward to going to Tasmania to attend our National Convention this year – I bet it will be fantastic!

I have also found that aspects of my joining Speaking Made Easy have helped my work situation as well. With some of the skills I have learnt through Speaking Made Easy, I can more confidently approach and discuss work matters with my superiors. I have a customer service role and am dealing face to face with customers every day. What I have learnt regarding listening and negotiation techniques has prepared and helped me greatly with my job.

In closing, I would say my joining Speaking Made Easy is certainly the best decision I’ve made because it has helped me enormously to build my confidence. I couldn’t recommend our organisation highly enough to all women. As Paul Kelly’s song says “From little things big things grow’ – as I take my steps to becoming a more confident person, my ultimate aim is to one day be one of those ‘good speakers’!

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