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The Presenting Game of Jenga

How to Unlock your Innate Public Speaking Skills

Imagine that when we’re born, we’re get given a brand-new game of Jenga.

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Imagine each building block is either a positive belief, meaning, intention, permission, expectation and forth, which we hold in mind about how we will use our voice.


Over the years, just like in Jenga, we layer on our beliefs etc. block by block, until we have masterfully created this structure, which becomes our internal (mind-body-emotional) program, as I like to call it, our iOS, that informs how we present / communicate and how we use our voice in the world.


For some, it could be a tall, strong, steady and robust structure, and we may believe that we have permission to use our voice. That we are, or can be influential, that we’ve got a “good” voice, that we speak with authority, and that we’re able to make a positive impact.


For others, it may be a shorter, shakier or unstable structure, where we doubt our ability to speak with confidence, to be engaging, speak articulately, succinctly, or to the level we should be at our age/role/gender or fill in the blank………………………


Throughout our lives, we may encounter experiences that challenge our structure. Winds of fear, nervousness, self-doubt, uncertainty and even anxiety come along as family, friends, colleagues and even strangers giving us feedback about how we communicate.


They may praise our abilities, or criticise that we didn’t speak well, that we weren’t articulate, that we didn’t do a great job or aren’t good at public speaking.


We may take that on board and believe it to be true. We oftentimes make our own value judgments, criticisms and evaluations about our own behaviour or performance. Oftentimes, these are the harshest, most critical and judgmental thoughts we reflect back to us.


After every experience, thought, or piece of feedback, we head back to our Jenga and either place on another block to strengthen our structure, or we remove one.


Every time a block gets removed, the structure becomes weaker, leaving gaps and holes throughout.

Public Speaking Skills Training

These gaps can leave us feeling vulnerable, and sometimes a little unsteady, shaky or lacking in confidence.


It leads to fear of public speaking called Glossophobia, which 75% of individuals suffer from.


It leads to 20% of individuals with public speaking anxiety avoiding advancing their career because it may involve public speaking.


According to studies, it can also impact our personal life decisions, with around 15% of individuals avoiding social events, weddings, or public ceremonies.


Due to these fears, we start removing block after block.


These could be the blocks of confidence, trust, belief in ourselves, in our purpose, ability to make the kind of impact we want. Blocks of authority, our sense of clarity in our messaging, design, stories, or even our very sense of credibility because of our fear of saying something silly, making mistakes or looking like a fool in front of others.


The more blocks we remove, the weaker our program for communicating becomes. If we start removing some of the foundational blocks, like self-esteem, or our sense of purpose in how we use our voice, or even – removing the permission we have to speak up authentically, it can have devastating impacts on our structure.


And if we continue removing block after block, eventually, when we find ourselves on stage, in important meetings, boardrooms or in front of large groups, and even the slightest wind of fear, self-doubt or a glance from a “disengaged” audience member, and our entire structure begins to tremble, sway from side to side and could finally, come crashing down.


We may stumble over our words, forget our content, rush to the end, speak in a small, timid voice, feel stuck, feel overwhelmed to the point of not being able to speak fluidly, or even hold us back from progressing in our careers, because any move up could entail more of the dreaded public speaking.


The greater impact?


It inhibits promotion to management by 15%. It can limit our career success - in a New Survey: 70% of employed Americans say Presentation Skills Are Critical For Career Success.

Studies show that not being able to speak confidently can cap our income. Fear of public speaking cuts wages by 10%.

If you’re in sales, in 18% of cases, according to a study by the Economist Intelligence Unit, it results in lost sales.


It can lead to decreased career satisfaction by 30% according to a report by Holmes, the voice of the global PR industry, which shows that the cost of poor communication has hit a whopping $37 billion in total. 


Those are some pretty sobering statistics. But that doesn’t need be your reality.


The good news is the building blocks belong entirely to us and we are charge of every single move we make!


It reminds me of a story of a wonderful woman who was a client of mine. A GM who wanted to move into C-suite roles, but because her she had been told as a young girl that she was going to be an assistant when she grew up, she doubted her abilities and couldn’t move beyond her current role.


Once we’d identified the building blocks that had been removed over time, which prevented her from speaking up with authority in meetings, at events, and from taking on higher roles due to self-doubt of her right to be there, we could start to change all of that and rebuild a speaking structure that served her best.


Today, she’s in a national, executive role she wants, speaking with impact and her journey is moving from strength to strength.


It’s all about the structure, blocks and what we choose to do about it.


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Here are 3 steps I’d like to offer you to reconstruct our structure, or rewire our iOS so that the program we run, is one that can withstand the winds of occasional self-doubt, criticism, or experiences that threaten our way of self-expression.


Step 1:  Awareness

Once we own our responsibility for our own structure and reclaim our power to choose to change what may not be serving us, then we can look to change it.


Frizt Perls said, “Awareness is curative.” 

Sometimes once we’re aware of what needs to change, it already begins to transform. Other times, we need a few more steps.


Step 2:  Identify

Then we need to identify the specific key building blocks we’ve removed from our structure. Identify when and what happened at the time we chose to remove them.


Specificity is key to understanding what and why we changed, so we can learn from it and move forward.


Step 3:  Rebuild

Now we can gently reinstall those building blocks, or add some new ones we might not ever have considered, to fortify and reestablish our structure to be even stronger than before.


How do we do it?

Socrates said, “Know thyself. It is the beginning of wisdom.”


Here are a few suggestions you can use to start rebuilding now already:


  1. Identify the Building Blocks:

    1. Recall your last public speaking engagement. Write down worked well, what could have been done better.

    2. What did you make that all mean? 

    3. What did you choose to believe about it?

  2. Identify new Building Blocks?

    1. Shift from what you don’t have, or what you don’t want, to what you DO want and how you do want to feel, behave, and what kind of impact you want for yourself.

    2. When we begin to focus on what we do want, as opposed to what we don’t want, we’re already sending our intention, and so our attention into creating a new experience for ourselves.

  3. Download my Confidence Building Audio Program:

    1. Finally, here’s a resource I’ve created that you can use to boost your confidence just before you speak.

    2. Click on this link for a FREE download:




Just as Jenga is a game, so too can we learn to play the game of creating our reality and experiences in life and specifically, of communicating and public speaking.


In my 20+ presenting experience, I now know that we have the power to change, even transform our iOS for communicating and how we use our voice.


The power is all yours.


I wish you all of the very best with your own game of communicating Jenga with the world.


If you want to accelerate your development, and rebuild, or even build for the first time your very own, robust, even enjoyable structure for how you communicate, feel free to connect with me directly. I’d love to help.


Here’s to some solid, rocking (for all the right reasons!) presentations and expressions of the amazing – YOU!





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