The plateau is inevitable!
You want to improve your public speaking skills, but you might feel stuck and frustrated.
I’ve been stuck on this plateau many times. In fact, I am on one right now. I am not too worried because I know a way out of this rut. I want to share with you some of the things that helped me get unstuck so you can use them too.
Below is a list of items I did to change my routine and break through my barriers. I also included links so that you can check them out and use them as a resource. Hope you will find this useful.
Before you jump to the list consider these three things:
- I am still growing as a speaker (the sky is the limit) and still hit plateaus and still look for different things to help me (I’ll share them with you in future blogs, make sure you sign up at the bottom of this article to receive them)
- It’s important to keep up constant public speaking practice while doing the activities below. Because you want to have a place to test your improvements continually.
- Avoid doing everything on the list at the same time. I spaced them out and picked one of them at each plateau. Use your gut feelings and choose the technique that you think will help you now and test your progress in the public speaking classes you are taking.
Improv is short for improvising. Studying improv helped me get comfortable speaking about unfamiliar topics, It helped me think better and faster on my feet, and it also brought out my sense of humor.
Improv was a huge challenge for me at first, yet I owe my speaking career to it. I still participate in improv classes on a yearly basis and encourage my clients to do the same. It will help you especially if you are as analytical as me 🙂 or more.
There are two ways to take improv:
1- Take an improvisation class
If you are in the Bay Area, then I recommend Batts improv or signing up for one of our Free Weekly public speaking classes (ours is specifically tailored towards communication skills and public speaking)
2- Join an improvisation group
Seven years ago I found an improv group on Craigslist and joined them. In the group, I developed my skills to improvise and built some strong friendships.
I did both the classes and the groups. I found joining the improv groups more rewarding because it is long term and I found the class to be more educational in teaching techniques and structures.
Unlike improv, acting classes are more structured and more serious. Acting helped me get comfortable performing in front of other people, helped me become a better storyteller, and helped me become more emotionally expressive (remember, I was an engineer ten years ago and needed a lot of help with expression).
I took many acting lessons, and I especially like the Meisner Method. I received tremendous value from it. I studied with Christy English, the founder of Bay Area Acting Studio.
If you are considering taking acting classes, I would first do Improv as a foundation and then dive into some acting.
Do Standup Comedy
Most people assume that Standup Comedy made me funnier. It did. But what I got from it is much more valuable. It helped build my confidence, to handle rejection better, and surprisingly it helped me organize my presentations better (The bucket system in our Magnetic Blueprint Boot Camp was inspired by learning how stand up comedians create their presentations).
I studied stand-up comedy at the San Francisco Comedy College
I did their basic, advanced, and riffing course (not sure they have this one anymore). I also performed at a club through them after my advanced course (I will never do that again☺)
I would recommend doing Stand up after improv and acting. If you are interested in improv, acting and stand-up experience in a safe atmosphere and in a structured way, we are hosting a full day improvisation boot camp. We have a very special deal on July 30th (Email Nathan@MagneticSpeaking.com if you are interested in more info: We are very excited to offer this for the first time)
You are probably thinking, “ how the heck do I do radio?”
Community colleges have radio stations and have lots of spots to fill. I took a radio class at San José City College for that.
Doing the radio class helped me build the confidence because you don’t know who is listening. Sometimes we are afraid of public speaking because we have to face the unknown; we don’t know whom we are speaking to and are unfamiliar with the venue. With radio, you multiply that feeling by a thousand because you are constantly talking into what seems like a black hole.
I practiced debates in Sunnyvale with the Agile Articulators Debate Toastmasters Club (the only one in California)
Do Martial Arts
Any sport will do. I practiced Jujitsu for five years, and I am planning on taking classes again soon. Practicing and exercising helped me release my stress the build my stamina, which made me feel more confident and comfortable in front of groups.
Martial arts also helps you feel comfortable getting close to others as you are grappling. The forced proximity helps desensitize you when having other people standing next to you.
I practiced at the Pacific Judo and Jujitsu Academy in San José and highly recommend them.
Do Dynamic Meditation
Dynamic Meditation helped me channel my anxiety out and, like acting, helped me get rid of inhibitions.
Dynamic meditation is different from traditional meditation (which helps you with dealing with the fear of public speaking). In traditional meditation, you sit quietly in silence. In Dynamic meditation, you are active in a group.
In the group, I joined (I no longer practice there, and I don’t think the group is still going), we did dancing and laughing meditation. Both crazy when you think about it, but rewarding. This is as out of the box as it gets.
Conclusion: Improve your public speaking skills out of the plateau
I hope you find the list helpful.
If you want a place to practice, then consider our weekly public speaking classes – your first class is for free.