Craig Senior is a Canadian Business Consultant based in Ottawa. He has been Consultant in computer systems since 1988. Married with two cats, he has two grown children from his first marriage. He enjoys cycling and rode across Canada in 2009 to support the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride. He is a very active Toastmaster.
His stage fright moment
For Craig this is “when your mind gets hijacked”. Once in a speech contest, his mind went completely blank. It was a long silence. Then he turned slowly with a dramatic movement, raised his hand, and the words came back.
Another time he put his full script on a lectern, looked down, and all the words on the page had completely disappeared. The words only came back when he sat back down. It was a very weird sensation.
How he overcame stuttering
Craig remembers his own life stuttering. Since a child, he always dreamed to be speaker. He never took any speech therapy. Being already an adult, someone in his company started a Toastmasters club and he immediately joined and started to speak as much as he could.
Once he stuttered in his thoughts, and that was when he believed it was a mental pattern. As he thought he had to rewire his brain, he wrote a speech titled “reprogramming the human computer”. He would practise at home the words and sounds he had trouble with and then force himself to speak in public. He overcame stuttering by brute force. After all, everyone does stuttering sometimes. Expectation of being perfect in speaking is silly.
He became a speaking coach in Canada and even has remote students in India, Hong Kong and Singapore.
His piece of advice for stuttering
Figure out why you have it, if you can. In his case, the epiphany was realizing that his problem was not physiologic.
You can go to speech therapist to get tested and figure out the cause.
One exercise Craig does is related to breathing, as some people creates stoppages simply by not breathing. Stop, breath, say your sentence, stop, breath, say your sentence … Sometimes your brain works faster than your mouth. Slow down.
Another exercise is called “listening with the audience”. The idea is to imagine an audience. As you’re speaking, ask yourself “do I understand that?”, “does that make sense?”, “was that funny?”. Then take time and feel the emotions as thought you were in the audience. This slows you down to a pace that you can speak.
“Satisfaction of one’s curiosity is one of the greatest sources of happiness in life.” — Linus Pauling
“One of the most beautiful compensations in life is that no person can help another without helping themselves.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl
Routine to Shine
Turning your dream into action. No matter what you want to do, head towards it. You don’t need to know everything; just start doing it, even if it means doing it “badly”.
Unconsciously incompetent -> Consciously incompetent -> Consciously competent -> Unconsciously competent.
The trick is to get started and being OK with not knowing everything.
Message Masters (lots of articles)