Speak from the HEART not the AMYGDALA
John Gray, of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus fame, claims that our scariest fears lie buried in our subconscious, under the care of a ‘lizard’ brain. Randy Harvey, Toastmasters 2004 World Champion of Public Speaking calls it the ‘reptilian’brain, the medical community defines the Amygdala, as the almond shaped organ in our brains as our emotional control center of "Fight or Flight.”Harville Hendrix, expanding on the research of the famous Danish-German-American psychiatrist Erik Erikson, has shown that seeds of fear are planted in our heads, during one of the six stages of childhood development.
Matt Abrahams, in his Know Thy Fear article, in the April 2011 issue of Toastmaster, labels these as "trait based” fears. Toastmasters can show you how to find the fears that you feel, in business, personal relationships and speaking in public. Once, you understand the source of fear you can begin to overwrite your internal dialogue and begin communicating with others from the heart instead of the head.
Every person has something to say to the world, Steven Jobs' Stanford Graduation speech is the current example. When you read his My Three Stories transcript you have no problem understanding what he has to say.When you watch the commencement video you see that Obama's and Martin Luther King's oratorical reputations are not threatened. Obama has a great voice but after six years of watching him read from his teleprompters we are no longer impressed. At the end of the day, Martin Luther King, Jr. said what he had to say best because of his Body Language, Vocal Variety, Conviction and Storytelling.
According to social anthropologist Edward Hall, 60 percent of our communication is non-verbal. Malcolm Gladwell, in his seminal work, Blink, claims that we take only two seconds to pass judgment based solely on the image. Steve Jobs gave his best speech at Stanford, because he had seen the future and he wanted to share with the world what he had seen. He was speaking from the heart in his written language but from the platform he was reading from papers on a windy day.
President Obama got to be president because he was the first Democrat since FDR and JFK who could talk. Obama's audition at the Opening speaker for the 2004 Democratic Convention, showed the world that he could deliver a speech. However, he has been reading to us ever since, without the content and life experience of Steven Jobs. Beginning his 7th year in office, Obama still listens to his Amygdala and refuses to open up his Heart.
Obama definitely has a story to tell, raised and educated white, wearing a black suit. They asked people back in the 60's if they would choose to experience life as a black person, for a million dollars. There were no takers back then, maybe with the bad economy and post-Civil Rights Act more people would be willing. Hell, I'd do it in a New York minute for a half-mil. Unfortunately, we choose our leaders like we do our movie stars - on looks. After, eight years in office, even Barbara Bush had her doubts about George 'W'. Now, the situation is reminiscent of the Wendy's "Where's the beef?" commercial. No one can tell the difference in content of his speeches, they all sound the same. The vocal quality is always pitch perfect but does he mean what he says. Not even his advisers are sure.
Martin Luther King Jr.'s picture says it all. That man is serious. That man knows in every cell of his body what he is talking about. That man has something to say and you may or may not want to hear it but you know that he is telling you the truth as he knows and feels it. We all know and remember, " I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."
Judge for yourself who would win in a speech competition and then come visit a Toastmasters meeting here in Zhengzhou or any oneof 14,000 clubs in 130 countries, and learn how to put your story into words, using vocal variety and body language that best communicates your meaning. Toastmasters is a form of group therapy that provides a safe environment of like minded individuals seeking to improve themselves by helping each other to speak from the Heart, not the Amygdala.
Delivery in terms of Voice, Expression, Volume, Rate, Pitch, Quality, Variety, Tone, Word Usage, Body Movement, Posture and Gestures is half of our score in a speech contest. It is not what we say that matters as much as how we say it.
I learned all about psychiatry, not as a student but as a ten year patient of psycho-therapy. I learned the importance of body language, by winning speech competitions in China even though nobody knows what I’m talking about. Steve Jobs gave his best speech because of his heartfelt reasoning for his success. Obama continues to deliniate the issues like a Climate Change expert speaking at Davos, a 'Talking Head' if you will. King connected with our emotions, viscerally if you will.
Find the Fear, you Feel at Toastmasters.
Middle Kingdom, Mondays at the Sofitel, Yellow River Thursdays at Zhengzhou University's south campus and On The Way, Fridays at The English Way training school. Visit www.toastmasters.org for listing information on Toastmasters clubs in Zhengzhou, the 400+ clubs in China and a 123 other countries.
Toastmasters is growing exponentially in both India and China, precisely because it provides a wonderful environment for personal development. It is a kind of non-religious, non-political personal development college. Guests are welcome three times for free and the $72/year tuition is cheap to help you help yourself. firstname.lastname@example.org