The Berkshire's Coach - Millie Calesky

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Millie Calesky - Personal & Professional Coach, Speaker, Trainer, Writer

Talk for Success - How Public Speaking Can Help You Thrive Professionally

"Talk for Success - How Public Speaking Can Help You Thrive Professionally"
By Millie Calesky, Inspirational Speaker, Business & Life Coach
(Originally appeared in The Door Opener – June 2004)

Look at the successful business owners, leaders, and professionals in your community. What is one skill that most have in common? They’ve mastered the art of speaking in public. They know how to stand confidently before an audience and convey their thoughts in a way that’s clear, interesting and motivating.

In this information age, speech is one of the most important means of self-expression. Good communication is essential for success. The more effectively you present your thoughts and the more people you can deliver them to, the greater your professional opportunities.

Public speaking will boost your visibility
Chambers of Commerce, professional organizations, clubs, and adult education programs all need presenters. By speaking in public, you will increase your visibility. As you present more talks, groups will start to seek you out. Speaking is a great way to build your network and to market yourself. It’s also an effective opportunity to spread the word about causes that are important to you. For example, I often take a minute of each talk to promote Toastmasters International -- a not-for-profit public speaking club. Speaker Darren LaCroix takes time to emphasize the importance of early screening for prostate cancer. Speaking is an act of giving. The more you do it, the more you will be rewarded.

Public speaking can boost your confidence.
Confidence is a faith in yourself and your ability. The more challenges you’re willing to face, the more self-assured you’ll feel. Public speaking is a stretch for most people. There is risk involved. Each time you rise to the occasion and speak before people, you’ll feel stronger and more willing to do it again. This will spill over into other areas of your life. You’ll see yourself as more capable and be more open to trying new things.

Overcoming fear of speaking in public.
Given that there are so many advantages to speaking in public, why do so many shy away from it? For some, the fear of public speaking is greater than that of death. The main cause of their terror is stage fright -- an apprehension of slipping up in front of others.

Overcoming this dread is the subject of books and courses. The bottom line is that the only way to shake the jitters that public speaking brings is to actually do it. As is the case with acquiring any new skill, the only way to master it is to get started and then practice, practice, practice. The best environment to learn in is one that supportive and where you can safely take your first baby steps.

Some think that, before they can speak in public, they must first understand the source of their resistance or get to a point where they don’t feel frightened. The good news is that you don’t have to shed your fear before you get started. Being afraid can actually help you be more effective. Professionals know that fear evaporates quickly once you begin to talk. The adrenaline surge that speaking stimulates can actually provide a useful energy boost as you move through your presentation.

Getting started.
There are several organizations that can help you get started speaking in public. Courses are offered at local colleges. Dale Carnegie ( offers a range of classes and workshops designed to help you plan and deliver speeches.
You can also attend local meetings of Toastmasters International, a not-for-profit organization that helps its members develop their communication and leadership skills. Meetings offer a variety of speaking opportunities in a safe and supportive environment. There are many Toastmasters chapters in Connecticut. Check out the Toastmasters website ( for a list of meetings in your area.

Millie Calesky is a business and life coach who empowers entrepreneurs, small business owners and professionals to reach beyond their limiting beliefs and achieve more than they ever thought possible. As a motivational speaker, Millie audiences on topics including power networking, confidence boosting and self-motivation.
She offers a free introductory coaching consultation and may be contacted at (413) 655-2555 or at

10 tips to get you jump-started as a public speaker

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