“I’ll do it later”
“I’ll do it next week”
“I haven’t got time”
“I don’t feel like it right now”
Such innocent words. Such deadly words!
Sometimes self-talk like this does reflects reality; there is a genuine lack of time. But at others they’re a cover for a pernicious, unspoken, barely conscious self-destructive reluctance that stops us from doing what we would like to do, want to do, need to do, yet somehow cannot quite bring ourselves to do.
Deeply introspecting to figure out the deep psychological reasons as to why such hesistancy holds us back might be too much to ask just to write our next speech. So what’s the alternative?
There is a simple and practical way forward at Spa Speakers……
Enter the mentor!
A gentle, well meaning nudge is often all it takes to push us over the precipice and write that next speech. And that’s what a good mentor will do. A good mentor will contact their mentee and gently cajole them to think about, prepare and book their next speech. To illustrate the point let me share some examples, all based on true stories.
Case studies: the power of the nudge
Member A did not realise they had just 1 speeches left before they achieved their next educational award. Member A’s mentor tells him this, and this is sufficiently motivating that a month later that speech is delivered! One nudge did it.
Member B has a million great speech ideas but doesn’t know which one to do next, and so is stuck. Member B’s mentor listens to the ideas and helps her decide on one. Once the options have been removed and just a single speech is in focus, member B confidently books it in and the preparations begin in earnest. The work is not yet done though – the mentor continues to nudge, nudge, nudge until the speech happens!
Member C has a great idea, a masterpiece speech, but it’s been cooking for ages. The inner perfectionist is getting in the way of progress. Member C’s mentor helps to ease the pressure by suggesting doing an alternative speech and going back to the masterpiece later. The impasse is broken, but the nudge, nudge, nudge might still be necessary to keep the momentum up till the speech happens!
Mostly, we already know what we need to do to improve thanks to the evaluations we have recieved and self-reflection; it’s just that we stall when it comes to taking action. Regular nudges offered in a gentle, friendly and supportive way are often all we need to get back on track.
A mentor doesn’t have to be a speech writing whizz
Much like in sports, a good mentor doesn’t necessarily have to be a superstar player as the skills required of a mentor and performer are different. At Spa, mentors help mentees mainly by offering encouragement, support and information on club procedures. They can (and often do) share pointers on writing a better speech, but feedback from speech evaluations and personal self-reflection is often plenty for members to chew on. The bigger problem is taking actual action. The occasional nudge, offered in a gentle, friendly and supportive way, is often all we need to get us on track.
The onus is on the mentee
The Toastmasters program is a self-paced, self-directed program of learning, and mentors are there to support that; they are not meant to act as an ever-present crutch for mentees lacking drive. If a mentor gets in touch with their mentee, but the mentee doesn’t show the courtesy to respond it’s not going to work for either party; all it takes is a brief email that says “I’m busy at the moment, will get in touch when I can” to let your mentor know they’ve been heard and their efforts to help you are respected.
And mentors, if you haven’t been in touch with your mentee for a while, please do! That’s my nudge to you!
- How does Pathways affect the Distinguished Club Award? - 1st April 2020
- 10 Tips for controlling your public speaking nerves - 25th March 2020
- Expand your comfort zone and speak at another club! - 18th March 2020