Words have power. They can move people to take action. They provoke emotions and memories. They can hurt or lift one up. Using words effectively to communicate with others is immensely important. One of the more effective ways to use words is public speaking. Even though public speaking is an important way to communicate, there are many who are so terrified of speaking in public that they avoid it at all costs. There is no need to avoid it. If you know how to deal with the fear of public speaking, you will have another powerful communication tool in your arsenal. One of the best ways to learn to overcome your fear is with the help of a professional like Erik J. Dominguez, who has dedicated his whole life to the art of communication.
Erik J. Dominguez is the public speaking teacher and coach behind Speak Up Stories. Dominguez is originally from Mexico City, Mexico. He moved to Arizona when he was 8 years old. He also grew up terrified of public speaking, but instead of giving into the fear, he joined the speech and debate team in high school.
“Like many, I grew up with this crippling fear. Then, through a series of unexpected and fortunate events, I joined my high school’s speech and debate team and was hooked with stories and speaking. I knew right away I wanted to share this passion and train others to do the same,” Dominguez shares on his website about how he stumbled into a field of communications.
After graduating from college, he spent years as a public speaking teacher in high school and college. While teaching, Dominguez spent many hours talking to his students about public speaking and storytelling. From those conversations he gathered important information. He learned that people do not believe they have unique stories to tell. He also understood that many people think that public speaking is telling a story from the podium with the help of Powerpoint. Dominguez explains that this is not true; public speaking exists “to inform, persuade, lead, inspire and entertain.” He believes that it is a required skill for every position out there and all professionals should know how to effectively communicate through public speaking. Dominguez also noticed that people do not always understand that speaking and storytelling are skills that can be learned and developed through coaching and practice.
In order to help others to get over their fear of public speaking and learn to be an effective storyteller, Dominguez founded Speak Up Stories.
“Speak Up Stories is storytelling, public speaking, and executive communication consulting and training,” he explains. “But more importantly, the mission of Speak Up Stories is to empower others to tell their stories and present powerfully in their personal and professional lives.”
Dominguez is more than equipped to achieve the mission he set for himself. After years of teaching, he acquired 20 years of experience as a speaker and speaking coach. So in 2016 when he moved to Des Moines, IA to be closer to his two sons, he put his extensive experience to work by launching Speak Up Stories.
“[I] started it because I realized there were so many professionals who had not had comprehensive, effective, and FUN public speaking and storytelling training,” he explains.
Speak Up Stories offers workshops and coaching for anyone interested in learning how to be an effective communicator through public speaking. Dominguez is fluent in Spanish as well and growing up as part of two cultures makes him an even greater teacher and coach who knows how to communicate effectively with representatives of both cultures.
“Para los hispanohablantes soy latino. Soy hispano. Soy Mexicano y específicamente soy chilango,” he says with pride. (For Spanish speaking audience I am Latino. I am Hispanic. I am Mexican and specifically I am “Chilango” – a colloquial term to denote a person from Mexico City).
Dominguez believes that public speaking is an important skill for people to learn to be more successful in their professional and personal lives and he wants to help others learn to use the power of words and do it effectively without the performative fear factor.
“I hope to show individuals from all walks of life that public speaking training is a way to advance your personal and professional life. Great public speaking, after all, is knowing yourself and knowing your message,” Dominguez explains. “When you explore this in an ongoing way, you are giving space for a lot of ideas, healing, and power to come into your life.”
If you are interested in learning more about Erik Dominguez and about workshops and coaching he offers through Speak Up Stories, please, visit https://speakupstories.com/
Check out his amazing and fun speech at the Des Moines Register’s Storytelling Project