Our Approach to Public Speaking

Our Approach to Public Speaking

Putting Presence First

What most sets Speaking Circles® apart from other public speaking approaches is the emphasis placed on connection over content or technique, and how that emphasis leads to you gaining the self-confidence to stand before others and speak from a place of authenticity and spontaneity.

Whereas conventional public speaking trainings focus on performance and presentation, Speaking Circles (whether in person or virtual) guide you in the development and practice of Relational Presence, or the ability to settle into and speak from your own inner stillness when you are in front of others.  

This ability empowers you to:

  • Relax, breathe, and pay attention to what is happening in your body, heart, and mind 
  • Drop any masks or coping techniques so that you become fully available to yourself and your audience
  • Discover, and receive, the gift of kind regard and warm support from an audience  
  • Enjoy the space you’re in and trust yourself to open up and share your message

By mastering Relational Presence, you become more at ease in front of groups, you connect more authentically with your listeners, and you speak with more natural charisma and impact.

The short video below introduces two stories of transformation from Speaking Circles participants.

Our Special Safety

Bringing stillness to speaking in a group is both an art and an act of courage. 

The safe space created at each program that supports you to settle into stillness and express yourself is another hallmark of Speaking Circles. This safety has inspired many to step into their courage to be themselves in front of groups.

The three pillars of our Standards of Support ensure consistency and trust in this safe container:

  • Be an acceptive/appreciative listener  
  • Be with one person at a time
  • Hold confidentiality

When it is your turn “up front” at a Circle in person or virtually, you are asked to be in the moment with one person at a time. This is when the magic of Relational Presence begins to appear. As you breathe and offer your gaze to each person, you become more at ease, and you start to sense a warm atmosphere of connection with your listeners. There is no pressure to perform, or even to speak. You only need to be.

From there, words may or may not arise. When they do, you will surprise yourself with your own wisdom, humor, eloquence, and authentic expression. 

Appreciating YOU Most of All

Your natural self is who audiences are attracted to and most relate to.

Our distinctive way of helping you recognize the power of your presence as a speaker is yet another salient feature of Speaking Circles.

Rather than being evaluated on your presentation skills after you take a turn in front of the group, you will receive Essence Appreciation, or positive words from your listeners describing qualities they saw or felt in you during your turn.

Through receiving such affirming feedback focused on who you are being rather than on what you are saying, your mind and heart will open to the power and beauty of your natural presence. The more you fully take in these words describing qualities your listeners saw in you or felt about you, the more your self-confidence will grow.

What Our Approach Makes Possible

Speaking Circles sessions and programs guide you to develop a relaxed, self-assured, natural presence that will transform both the way you show up as a speaker and the impact you can have personally and professionally, both in person and online.  

If you suffer from stage fright, attending Speaking Circles can dramatically shift your perspective on and experience of public speaking from very challenging to remarkably enjoyable. Practicing Relational Presence can make it as comfortable and pleasant to speak to a group as to a close friend. Speaking Circles can indeed help people overcome, or at least drastically reduce, their fear of public speaking.

If you are an experienced speaker, you will find a new level of freshness and spontaneity as you trust yourself to speak from your heart rather than from a tightly scripted speech. You can express yourself with more ease, authenticity, and passion when you learn the key to masterful, magnetic presence. When you are completely genuine, you can deeply inspire and touch others.

Attendance at Speaking Circles, either in-person or virtual sessions, can evoke profound personal transformations. Countless numbers of people have spoken of how Relational Presence has changed their lives well beyond public speaking. Here are two voices:

I am always amazed at how this process seems to have as much to do with how we are 'in the world' as it does with how we are with a group or audience. It is an awesome experience, and I feel as attracted to the 'centering' effect that it has on me as I do to the speaking benefits that it has to offer.


The lessons I’ve learned here have impacted almost every part of my life, in ways that go way past speaking. I truly believe everyone needs to do this.


Once you have established a foundation in Relational Presence through attendance at a series of Speaking Circles, you are ready for advanced programs that teach practical applications of public speaking presence. Our Resources page introduces readings to guide you. Our Find a Facilitator page search will lead you to our global network of Facilitators who conduct both basic and advanced Speaking Circles programs.

Our support is yours for the asking. Please check our Frequently Asked Questions page for answers to general questions, or contact us with specific questions. To find Facilitators who conduct in-person and virtual Circles in several languages in a convenient time zone or a location near you, search our global network of Facilitators.

Our Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion

The Speaking Circles organization welcomes people from all different backgrounds, ages, cultures, skin colors, ethnicities, genders, gender identities, and physical abilities to join our Circles and become Facilitators. Because we are all part of a global society, our organization feels it’s important to bring diverse people together to be able to speak to, hear about, and learn from each other through the practices we teach. The world needs to hear your voices!