Friday, 26 February 2010

Speaking Circles

What is a Speaking Circle?
A unique public speaking environment where people can speak to an audience with a secure and supportive feeling.

The concept was initiated by Lee Glickstein, a public speaking coach in San Francisco, who grew up petrified of being in front of others.

There are 2 main roles; speaker and listeners.

Listeners' focus is just to listen with full attention and support the speaker no matter what speaker says.

Speaker's focus is simply to connect with the group. The main purpose is to feel the audience support.

How Many People?

4 to 10 people are typically involved in the meeting.

How does it run?
  • Facilitator explains the Speaking Circle if there are any new joiners
  • People speak twice; the first round each person speaks for 3 minutes and the second round each person speaks for 6 minutes.
  • At the start and end of each speak, the audience clap for the speaker :) - to show their support
  • Speaker starts each round with being silent for 30 seconds and only making connection with the audience. Then, he/she would start his speak.
  • After the second talk, the person is encouraged to share his or her experience of speaking.
  • Audience at the end of the second round and after the speaker has shared his experience, are encouraged to give only positive feedback; no negative, criticism nor even improvement suggestion.
  • Each talk can be videotaped if anyone is interested. Video taping has enormous benefits.
How Often?
It's totally up to you. We started it with monthly now we try doing it weekly.

Each individual is free to choose any subject. You can prepare or just trust your mind to give you what you need or want to say.

Better than that you don't have to say anything at all; you can just stay there and look at the audience. All up to you :)

The time is totally yours.

What it is and it is not about?
It's not about performance or the contents of talks. It's mainly about making connection with people, building self-confidence and being ourselves.

  • Public speaking skills
  • To become at ease and confident to stand and talk in front of an audience - presentation
  • Expressing ourselves as we are; being ourselves
  • To learn making personal contact with the audience
  • To learn to trust your mind
  • Total support... a chance to take a risk... an opportunity to discover the real you... in a space that's totally yours.
Standards of Support:

  • We do not take content of talks outside of the circle, unless we have specific permission
While a person is presenting, we as audience members, to the best of our ability:
  • Maintain soft, positive focus on the face of speaker
  • Remain quiet except for laughter if it comes up naturally
  • Do not take notes or engage in any other distracting behaviour
  • Do not respond out loud, even if asked a question by speaker
When giving feedback, we do:
  • Keep it brief and clear
  • Frame it absolutely in the positive
  • Talk about our own feelings
When giving feedback, we do not:
  • Discuss content of the talk
  • Talk about the speaker's life
  • Evaluate or compare this talk with previous talks they've given
  • Analyze, coach or advise
  • Turn attention to ourselves
When receiving feedback, we:
  • Just receive the feedback into our heart the best we can
  • Do not make comments to the people giving feedback, beyond "Thank You"
Talk content:
  • The main restriction on talk content is that it no reflect negatively on any present
  • We are sensitive about initiating conversations with others based on the content of their talks
Change Suggestions By the Group:

* Prepare the topic
From experience, it is thought to be that it would be better if the speaker prepares in advance what he or she is going to talk about.

* Improvement feedback
After the second round of speaking, the speaker can ask the audience to provide improvement suggestions; this needs to be framed in a polite and positive way.

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