How long does it take to become a confident speaker?
How Long Does it Take to Speak Confidently?
I'm very glad you asked.
My client Roma was really eager to start but kept asking, “how long is this going to take?"
I told him," “It’ll take as little as 15 minutes to see changes. 24 hours to feel a difference, and 48 hours to become 2x the speaker you were before.”
He was in disbelief. “How can it be so quick?”
I responded, “Ever tried saying a word but you pronounced it incorrectly?
Then someone corrects you, and you realize ‘oh, that’s how it’s said’ - and you change the way you say the word. That’s exactly how this will work. ”
The entire process is around building awareness around your habits.
I’m going to show you each stage our 1500+ clients have gone through when they’re learning to speak and how long it takes.
Stage 1: You don’t know what you don’t know
At this stage, you will make assumptions about yourself. You will think you know your problem. If you are not a confident speaker, you're not quite sure why it's the case so you think it's either your accent, your voice, maybe your English, or the specific topic you speak about.
It's very common for us to make assumptions about why things are happening. Human beings crave explanation.
In my experience, 80% of the time people have an incorrect idea of what they actually need. If they think their accent is the problem, it's usually a lack of clarity when they speak. If they think their vocabulary needs work, it’s usually that they speak too fast and mix their words.
It's important to let go of these assumptions of yourself in order to make any progress.
Stage 2: Oh no, is that what I sound like!
What I'll have clients do right at the start. Is have a look at themselves and how they speak. You can't solve a problem if you don't know what the problem is. This could be as simple as you turning the camera on, talking about a subject to talk about a lot at work. Then watching it back to see what you're noticing about yourself. How are you sound, how you look, how fast you talk etc.
At this point, you'll start to feel the cringe. You'll start to realize all the things that you do wrong or all the things that need work. This feels really bad. Because now you feel like you've been doing it your whole life and you have a long road ahead of you.
The good news is, it's not going to take a lot of time. Now that we have uncovered the challenges that we need to solve, it's all about targeted practice.
Stage 3: Boring Work
What do you do when you're learning to play the guitar? You pick it up and play. What do you do? If you want to learn to play a specific song, you try to play the chords, over and over and over again, you make mistakes over and over again until you get it.
You'll still fumble every now and then, but you will succeed more often than you feel. This is boring repetitive work, this is what is required to develop any skill set. This is also why most people quit. They seek novelty in their practice. It has to be exciting every day.
Truth is, it’s not going to be exciting. It’ll be tedious and boring. There are ways to make it more interesting. Challenging yourself to talk about a new topics, talking about topics in a shorter timeframe etc.
This is where the skills is developed.
Stage 4: The 20 Hour Mark
You might've heard of the 10,000 hour rule, it takes 10,000 hours to get good at something. This is actually incorrect. What Malcolm Gladwell actually said was, it takes 10,000 hours approximately to become world class as something.
Most of us are not trying to become world-class, we're trying to become really good. And the number of hours you need to become really good is 20 hours. You will experience 95% of all of your results in the first 20 Hours but most people take their entire lives to put in the first minute of practice. That's why it takes so long.
The question is, how many days does it take you to reach 20 hours of practice? Can you practice 20 minutes a day every day for a month? Do you practice one hour once a week? This question is a lot like asking how many times a week should you go to the gym. The more times you go, the faster you will get results.
That being said, I like dividing up these 20 hours into different aspects like 3 to 4 hours spent on voice, another 3 to 4 hours spent on pacing and delivery, another 3 to 4 hours spent on structure in and content, the remaining spent on developing self-awareness and body language.
Once you have hit the 20 hour mark, you’re better than most of the human population.
Stage 5: Contextual Learning
Now you have learned the foundation of speaking, you know how to speak very confidently. Now it's time to put this into context.
How do you adjust your speaking style in interviews, in public forums, and networking events, in conversation? This will require specific contextual learning. You will take your skills out into the world, test it out and adjust based on the situation.
This is a process that can take as long as you need it to, depending on your communication needs.
Some people decide they want to learn stand-up comedy, others want to get in sales, or making content. This will depend on where your journey takes you.
To answer the question: How long does it take?
It takes as long as you can get to 20 hours of practice.