Do I Need a Mentor? Starting Your Public Speaking Journey on the Right Foot
The public speaking journey is not easy; for some, it can be a daunting process. A quick search online will reveal countless websites setting out valuable tips for a beginner public speaker/communicator. We wanted to zoom in on an oft-neglected aspect of the public speaking growth journey – the need for a strong and constructive mentor to guide you on your journey!
A mentor, in the public speaking field at least, plays more than a coach or teacher role. An effective mentor will guide you through the learning process. Beyond simply hand-holding or spoon-feeding, a mentor will help you pick out key improvement areas and chart a more targeted learning objective for you. We would even add that a strong mentor should be versatile enough to guide you through various communication scenarios, beyond just a traditional speech setting.
That said, we know that it is not easy to pick out a suitable mentor for yourself. To help you along, we will share some quick tips in choosing the best mentor for yourself.
Do I Really Need a Mentor?
Before we dive into the selection criteria, some of you may value a more independent learning journey. In short, you may feel like you trust your self-learning abilities more. The key question is – do you really need a mentor? As we shared, a good mentor will help you to maximise your learning experience, especially in the field of public speaking. Let us share three reasons why a mentor may be beneficial for you:
- I can ask my friends to help me! Of course! Having a mentor does not preclude you from asking others around you for help to comment or give feedback for your speeches/presentations. The distinguishing factor is the opportunity to receive consistent and quality A mentor approaches your speech/presentation with a background of expertise and experience. Drawing from these elements, a strong mentor is sharp enough to pick out specific/targeted areas of improvement, provide examples on how to improve, and give an accurate reflection of your progress. It does not hurt to have a close eye on your development as a speaker!
- I am not good enough yet! Neither is your mentor! Some of you may take the view that you need to reach a certain standard or competency level before getting a mentor. The correct process, however, is reversed. A mentor may just be one of the key steps you need to help you reach that very standard. A constructive and effective mentor is not out to judge or eradicate your speaking confidence. Instead, he/she aims to help you reach that very goal you are aiming for. The process may be challenging, but with a guide by your side, the journey will be smoother!
- A mentor is expensive! While some of the mentorship/private training options out there are paid, there are still opportunities to reach out and convince an experienced speaker to give you some tips. The choice is not between having no mentors and having an expensive Rather, pick out a colleague, friend, or family member with a confident speaking style or deep experience in public speaking. You can aim to emulate them or even consult them for key communication settings.
How Do I Choose a Mentor?
How then can we choose the best mentor for our learning objectives? While the selection process is fluid, there are still some factors that you can look out for when running through your various options.
First, do your research and be prepared. The best choice may not be as apparent to you from the start. You may need to read up on your possible choices and assess the mentor’s background, expertise, and experience. One key factor to consider is the mentor’s credibility value. Are you able to trust this individual to closely guide you through your learning journey? Pick someone who has sufficient experience and expertise to confidently help you improve as a communicator.
Second, find a mentor who shares a deep rapport with you. Beyond having the expertise or experience, a powerful mentor is one whom you are comfortable with. More importantly, as someone who would play a major role in guiding you through your learning journey, your mentor should be someone who provides you with the safe space to make mistakes, experiment with techniques, and implement feedback.
Third, aim for a mentor who can give you constructive feedback. A mentor is not simply a soundboard of ideas or comments. They should be able to give precise, surgical, and impactful feedback to help you grow as a communicator. You need a mentor who dares to be constructive and does not always aim to ‘sugar-coat’ or hide the areas of improvement under a heavy caveat. On the flip side, this does not mean you need a mean or blunt mentor. A powerful mentor is someone who can strike that difficult balance between both aspects!
Find Your Mentor!
While you are the dominant person responsible for your own success, a strong mentor can make that process smooth and efficient. Instead of going through the heavy process of tailoring your learning path, a mentor, when selected well, would allow you to focus on improving your communication performances by retaining an eye on the broad picture. As we shared, mentor selection should be a careful process; we hope with our sharing above, you too can find a powerful mentor to help you develop as a communicator!
By The Way…
If you’re keen to take your public speaking skills & presentation skills (either business/corporate presentation / training for presentation to clients / kids in-class presentation) to the next level so that you may communicate and deliver speeches with greater flair and charisma, feel free to check out our offerings below!
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