margonaut blog archive (2004-2014)


Speaking Circles

A wonderful woman in my local Toastmasters club invited me to another public speaking skills development group called Speaking Circles.

While Toastmasters is largely about giving feedback and evaluating each other, Speaking Circles focuses on cultivating "relational presence" with one person at a time while one is talking and dropping all evaluation, especially evaluation of oneself. They recommend talking to and really conecting with one person at a time, even when speaking to large audiences.

The experience made me realize how I often shy away from eye contact and drift off mentally with other people even though I talk about "cultivating present moment awareness" (I'm aware that I have more cultivating to do.)

It was definitely good practice and made me realize there is really no reason for me to be shy anymore!

Speaking Circles
Speaking Circles® focus on the essential first step missing in traditional public speaking programs - the connection between speaker and listeners. This relationship-based approach provides a supportive listening environment where you learn to express yourself confidently and naturally without performance techniques.

Comments (4) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Uh-oh, now you’re getting into the real secret stuff. One of the easiest of these techniques is to pick out someone in the crowd you like who is left front and someone else whose location is back right. If you give your talk to these 2 people (alternating your gaze between them obviously) you will be making virtual eye contact with the entire crowd. In fact it’s one of those things where each person gets the feeling you’re speaking directly to them individually. Although it’s technically just a mechanical technique it can be very engaging.

    When speaking to a small group of maybe only 5 or 6 people it’s actually harder as you have to pivot your gaze and engage each person (or at the very least the group alpha). If you focus on their third eye, you will be appearing to make eye contact without the distraction of staring into someone’s eyes. Alternately, when talking to someone of great personal power (whole different topic) one of the tricks is to focus your attention on their left eye and avoid being trapped in the world within their eyes. All these things are lots of fun to play with in social settings. It’s also a way of establishing dominance so be cautious how you practice. It can also mark you as a bit weird.

    BTW thank you for yet another interesting link.

  2. I know what you mean about being careful… I get irritated when I notice people are using NLP type techniques on me, even when they’re not using them in order to dominate and/or sell something and just to “establish rapport.”

    I like this quote I encountered the other day:

    “Real power doesn’t compete; it finds a way to synchronize.”

    from _Why Your Life Sucks and What you can do About It_ by Alan Cohen

    I haven’t read the book, however I might someday (even though my life does not suck!)

  3. when are you guys getting married?

  4. what a weird comment, is that you Mom?

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