About Joel

I understand the challenges of managing speech anxiety. In this video I describe my personal journey of how I learned to manage my anxiety by leveraging the tools in my Speaker’s Tool Box.

As an entrepreneur and/or business professional, if you really want to get ahead in your career, eventually you will have to learn one of the biggest feared skills in success, public speaking. I’ve been there too, shaking; anxiety to the max and feeling like my throat may close up!

Luckily, I found a way to move past those fears and since then, over the last 20+ years, I developed a unique system to help other professionals like yourself move beyond their fears in record time to become confident, engaging and effective speakers.

My secret is The Speakers Toolbox. A collection of unique concepts and tools that allow you to take advantage of assets you have and don’t even know it when it comes to speaking in public. Whether you are speaking one on one, delivering a presentation to a group or giving a speech to a large audience, the concepts of The Speakers Toolbox puts a distinctive perspective on this age-old challenge that will help you shine and enjoy the spotlight!

My Story

25 years ago I had a good job as a Sales Representative for a Fortune 500 computer company. I was successful at the job. I achieved my quota in my first year and was named Rookie of the Year. My wife and I were sent on a weeklong, all expenses paid trip to Vancouver.

Despite my success I wasn’t happy at my job. I was required to do presentations to corporate boards and senior management teams almost weekly. Each time I got up to speak I would get a huge knot in my stomach and the knot would not go away until I sat down. Even though I was having lots of opportunity to speak, my anxiety and fear of speaking only grew. The adage: “Do the thing you fear and the fear will disappear” was not working for me. My fear and anxiety were steadily increasing.

My discomfort of speaking in public, was a primary reason for me to decide to leave the company I was working for and take a job with a local Telephone Company.

About a month into my new job my manager convinced me to attend a Toastmasters’ meeting. I will never forget the feeling… it was pure panic! There was only one entrance to the room we were meeting in and we sat on the opposite side of the room, away from the door.

At the time, I did not know what Toastmasters was about. I had visions of individuals practicing the presentation of toasts. There was none of that. Toastmasters is the world’s largest non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of effective speaking and leadership skills in adults.

I got through that first meeting and came to the next one and the next. Over the next few years I worked my way through the entire Toastmaster program and achieved several designations, including their highest designation of Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM).

About two years into the Toastmaster program I realized that I had found my speaking voice. The Toastmaster program helped me understand that in my job as a Computer Sales Representative I was focused on the wrong thing, the fear and anxiety of public speaking. By focusing on my anxiety, I was actually feeding it! I became an expert at being anxious about public speaking!

Through Toastmasters and my own experience with my business (I established my company, Professionally Speaking in 1995) I have come to learn that speaking is a craft, a craft with many tools. Once I began to focus on the craft of speaking and which tools I wanted to use I noticed that my anxiety levels began to drop.

We only have so much energy. I realized that for many years, when I spoke, most of my energy was channelled in a negative way. I was focused on the wrong things. Once I started to focus on the craft of speaking and the tools that were available to me I began to convert that negative energy into positive energy that helped reduce my anxiety and increase my confidence.

I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit. For as long as I can remember I wanted to have my own business. I had lots of ideas; mail order, sports shop, bar, etc. I considered dozens of possibilities. I couldn’t decide on what I wanted. As I started to move through the Toastmasters program people around me became aware of my new ability to speak. I was asked to MC weddings for families and friends. People began to ask me to do seminars and workshops on public speaking and presentation skills.

Suddenly I had my business. It was as a professional speaker, trainer and coach. I have since added author to that list of skills. I have written three books, The Wedding MC Handbook, Little Helpings of Food for Thought and my most recent book The Speaker’s Tool Box – Perfecting the Craft of Speaking. I am fairly confident that I would not have written my books if I had not conquered my fear of speaking. I am already thinking about my next book. By overcoming one of my biggest fears, my fear of speaking, I realized one of my biggest dreams, owning my own business.

I am the host and co-founder of the first momondays (a popular national intermediate/professional speaking event held monthly) in Newfoundland and Labrador that is garnishing a lot of local attention.

This is an excerpt from a momonday’s event.

I’m excited to leverage my experiences and insights to help you breakthrough your anxiety and lack of confidence.

Media Bio

Joel Sweeney has been helping entrepreneurs and business professionals become confident, engaging and effective speakers for over 20 years. Having overcome his own speaking anxieties, Joel created, ‘The Speakers Toolbox’, a customized system to help his clients get over their fear of speaking in public. Having worked with many high profile companies like Hockey Canada, Bell Aliant, Yarmouth Hospital Foundation and the Newfoundland & Labrador Liquor Corporation (NLC), Joel is a natural choice for helping professionals step into the spotlight.

As the author of 3 books, Joel has created The Wedding MC Handbook, Little Helpings of Food for Thought and his most recent release in 2015, The Speaker’s Tool Box – Perfecting the Craft of Speaking.

Joel is highly active on the National speaking landscape. Joel is the host and co-founder of the first momondays (a popular national intermediate/professional speaking event held monthly) in Newfoundland and Labrador that is garnishing a lot of local attention. He is a member of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (CAPS) National Board, Past President of CAPS Atlantic Chapter and is a member of the Global Speaker’s Federation (GSF). Joel has been featured on national CBC Radio, in The Business News, Speaking of Impact and Canadian Living Magazine.

When Joel is not helping others become effective speakers you can find him traveling with his beloved wife Mary.

The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to personal excellence, no matter what their chosen endeavor.

Vince Lombardi