How To Deal With Difficult Speaking Circumstances

Difficult speaking circumstances require us to adjust how we approach our speech
Difficult speaking circumstances require us to adjust how we approach our speech
Image Credit: sea turtle

Quick question for you: when you are practicing a speech, do you rehearse at home in front of a mirror? If you do, then first off – good for you. Next, that’s probably the easiest speech that you’ll ever give. You have an audience of one (you) who knows about the importance of public speaking and you really like what you’re hearing. However, as is the case for all of us, we do live in the real world. What this means is that we are often called on to give speeches that are more difficult. What should we do then?

The World Is Filled With Difficult Speaking Opportunities

It would be nice if we could blame the difficult speaking circumstances that we find ourselves in on other people. It’s not our fault, it’s really their fault. However, generally speaking life doesn’t work that way. Our difficult speaking opportunities are more often than not creations of our own minds. Somehow we’ve allowed ourselves to get all worked up about a speech that we are going to be giving and it’s turned what might be a challenging speaking opportunity into a difficult speaking opportunity.

Just exactly how much time do you think that you are going to be given to deliver your next speech? We all know how this story goes: the person who has asked us to give a speech originally told us how long we would have to give the speech. When we were creating the speech, we made it fit into this amount of time. Generally on the day that we’ll be giving the speech, the person running the show will often show up and tell us “oh, we’re running late, could you trim your speech? ” Sometimes they are asking us to do a little bit of trimming, sometimes a lot. In situations like this, what was just going to be a speech has now turned into a difficult speech.

Finally, there will be times that the very thing that we’ve been asked to talk about is what causes us the most difficulty. There are a wide range of topics that most of us would really rather shy away from. These can be as straightforward as a eulogy, or as complex as notifying a group of workers that their jobs will be going away. No matter, if we view a topic as being something that we are not comfortable talking about, then all of a sudden a speaking opportunity will have become a difficult speaking opportunity.

The Secret To Successful Speaking In Tough Situations

I’m pretty sure that by now you’ve guessed that there is really no way to avoid difficult speaking situations. They will always occur, and they generally like to show up when we may least expect them to. What this means for us as speakers is that we need to prepare ourselves for what is coming and make sure that we have ways to deal with it.

When it comes to giving difficult speeches, despite the difficulty associated with the speech we still need to give it – people are counting on us. This means that we’re going to have to “fake it until we can make it”. Although this phrase may sound trite or simplistic, it contains a great deal of truth for the difficult speaking situation. When we are faced with a difficult speaking situation, we are just going to have to hunker down and give a speech.

You and I know that when it comes to giving a difficult speech we may not be the best people to give the speech. There may be someone who has more experience, more knowledge, or perhaps a better understanding of the audience. No matter. If we’re going to “fake it until we make it” then we are going to put all of these concerns behind us and seize the moment and deliver our speech. No, we might not be the best speaker, but we are going to be the speaker and by giving this speech at this time we will be becoming that much better.

What All Of This Means For You

If we ran the world, then every speech that we gave would be given to a small audience who understood the benefits of public speaking and who eagerly wanted to hear what we had to say. However, as of yet we don’t run the world and this means that we need to find ways to deal with speeches that we’ve been asked to give that are difficult speeches.

A difficult speech can take on many different forms. Often times when we are faced with a speaking opportunity, we will work ourselves up into such a state that what could have been a normal speech has been transformed into a difficult speech. There will be times that we’ve created a speech to fit the time that we’ve been given only to have that time reduced on the day of the speech and thus transform the speech into a difficult speech. Additionally, there are some topics that are just so difficult to talk about that by their very nature they are difficult speeches. We need to learn how to “fake it until we make it” and just get up there and give our speech. No, we may not be the best person to give this speech, but we are the one who is going to be doing it so go ahead and give it your best shot.

As speakers we provide a service for the people who ask us to give a speech. They believed that we were the right person to talk about a given topic on a specific day. Yes, there might be others that we believe are better at these kinds of talks, but we’ve been selected to give the speech. Seize the moment and give the best speech that you have ever given!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: If you find yourself turning a regular speech into a difficult speech, what can you do to stop this from happening?

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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 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

As people who give speeches and who know about the importance of public speaking, you wouldn’t think that we’d all be scared of the same thing, but by in large we are. It turns out that people who talk a lot are more often than not scared of the same thing: silence. We just hate it when nobody is talking. If someone else is not going to speak up, then we’ll jump right in and start to fill the silence. Although understandable, perhaps a difference approach would serve us better…

If you were going to build a person, just exactly how would you go about doing it? You’d probably start with a head, add some arms, a rib cage, some hips, some legs and toss in a couple of feet and you’d pretty much be there. When we are writing a speech, since we understand the importance of public speaking, we do a lot of the same things. No matter what we will be talking about, we all understand that every speech needs to have some similar parts in order to make it all connect together. Like a head and some arms. Your speech is going to look pretty silly if you don’t include these!