Her face went red. Her breathing got faster. Panic overcame her, and she barked at me: This is a public speaking course. I’m here to speak, not to sing. I will not sing!
Catharsis (from Greek κάθαρσις katharsis meaning “purification” or “cleansing”) is the purification and purgation of emotions—especially pity and fear—through art or any extreme change in emotion that results in renewal and restoration. (Wikipedia)
In psychology, the term was first employed by Sigmund Freud‘s colleague Josef Breuer (1842–1925), who developed a “cathartic” treatment using hypnosis for persons suffering from extensive hysteria. While under hypnosis, Breuer’s patients were able to recall traumatic experiences, and through the process of expressing the original emotions that had been repressed and forgotten, they were relieved of their hysteric symptoms. (Wikipedia)
In my experience, without catharsis people can grow slowly and steadily. They will become better speakers in the long run. But – I also learned that with catharsis people will grow at light speed.
That lady in my training – in the end she sang. She sang a German nursery rhyme. She hated it, she felt ridiculous, she feared our perception. It was her personal catharsis moment.
Guess what happened after she sang… She turned into a stage monster. She voluntarily signed up for a follow-up course. Today, she speaks regularly at conferences. Her catharsis made her grow at light speed.
If you want to achieve light speed growth, look for catharsis moments in your life. Sing and dance and shout and scream in front of people. Share your most hidden feelings, your deepest fears, your greatest regrets.
Public speaking can be therapy. Make sure, it is therapy for you. With catharsis moments you will transform into a better version of yourself. Just like that lady did on a random Tuesday afternoon in Berlin when she sang a German nursery rhyme.