I, for one, would like to have a bigger brain. However, unlike deciding that I want to have bigger muscles, I don’t think that there is a “brain gym” anywhere near to where I live. What this means is that if I want to grow and develop my mental capabilities, then I’m going to have to find a different way to go about making my brain bigger.
Use It Or Lose It
That brain thing that we all have is sorta a funny thing. It’s not a constant by any means. What this means is that both your brain and my brain are always changing. They are doing one of three things: they are growing (good), staying the same (not so good), or shrinking (bad). The ever changing structure of our brains has a fancy name to describe it: neuroplasticity. What our brains are doing on any given day of the week depends in part on our genes (sorry about that one – can’t do anything about those) and what we have going on during a day along with the experiences that we are having.
This opens up the new idea of what some people are calling “brainlifting”. The basic idea is that just like going to the gym and working out, there are things that we can all be doing that will help keep our brains growing. One of the most important things that we need to understand about exercising our minds is that we always need to keep doing it. There has been a lot of research done that shows that when we are learning new things, our brains grow. However, if we take time off and go for a while and don’t learn new things, then our brains will start to get smaller.
This is where public speaking can come in and help save us. I’m pretty sure that I don’t have to tell you that the level of effort that is involved in dreaming up, writing down, and then practicing a speech provides all of us with a workout that can stimulate a number of different parts of our brain. If you want to get all technical about it, what is actually going on is that the process of creating and delivering a speech is causing our brain’s neurons to grown and then construct pathways that are both longer and stronger than they were before. Wow – I guess this shows us the importance of public speaking!
It’s All About Stress
I’m pretty sure that we all understand that too much stress is not a good thing. When it comes to public speaking, stress is our constant companion. Stress shows up in a number of different ways: our heart rate increases, our palms get sweaty, etc. It turns out that it is the role of our brain to regulate our emotions which are in control of how we deal with stress. If we want to have a shot at reducing our stress level, then our brain is going to play a big role in making this happen.
When it comes to speaking, stress generally shows up as a negative voice that we can hear inside of our head that tells us that we’re going to fail. In order to regulate our stress, we need to make this voice go away. There are many different ways that we can go about doing this. The simplest of these ways is by imagining that you’ve been able to silence the voice that has been talking to you and that you’ve asked it to leave. Another approach is to replace the negative voices in your head with more rational and reasonable voices that are telling you that you will be successful. Finally, walk away. Remove yourself from the physical situation that is causing you to stress and go somewhere else. Once there, remind yourself about all the times that you have been successful.
The great thing about our minds is that we control them. This means that when it comes to emotions, we have the ability to choose to regulate them. When we implement plans to create some distance between us and the stress that we are feeling, what happens is that we start to build new neural pathways in our brain. At the same time, the neural pathways that currently exist and are causing us to feel stress start to become disused and will fade away over time. No, these changes will not happen overnight, but they will happen over time.
What All Of This Means For You
Good news – it turns out that you are in charge of your brain! However, with this power comes a great deal of responsibility. It turns out that our brains are elastic and they are always changing depending on what we are doing with them. Right now your brain is growing, staying the same, or getting smaller. As pubic speakers, we’d like to learn how we can use public speaking to get one of the benefits of public speaking which is to make our brains become even bigger!
People have discovered that with some effort they can engage in what is called “brainlifting” – taking actions to develop their brain. If we exercise our brains, then they will grow. However, if we stop exercising them then they will start to shrink. When we are asked to give a speech, the effort that we go through to prepare to give the speech will allow us to cause our brain’s neurons to grown and then construct pathways that are both longer and stronger than they were before. Additionally, our brain is in charge of our emotions and so it can control the stress that we feel as public speakers. We can use our brains to learn new ways to control stress and this will develop new brain pathways and cause the old, stress inducing ones, to fade away.
Being in charge of our own brain is a big responsibility. However, the good news is that as public speakers the things that we go through to get ready to give a speech allow us to grow our brains. Yes, giving a speech can cause a great deal of stress in our lives, but it turns out that we have control over this also. Get busy building your brain!
Question For You: Do you think that there is any way that we can build a speech that will make our brains even bigger?
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Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!
What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
Oh the thrill of being asked to give a speech! You come home all a twitter, thinking about the great things that you are planning on sharing with this audience. You can almost see them now, you’ve just finished your speech and because of the importance of public speaking they are standing up and clapping. After your speech, everyone wants to talk to you in order to find out more about what shared with them. However, when you sit done to write this fantastic speech nothing comes to mind. What’s happened here is that you didn’t take the time to train your brain how to write great speeches!