Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Five Misconceptions of Speaking

1. I have to get rid of my nervousness. "Your task is not to get rid of the butterflies, but get them to fly in formation," Zig Ziglar. Your goal is to control your nervousness, harness it and turn the negative energy into positive energy. To do this, you need to accept the fact you will be nervous, take deep breaths, confidently know your material and break down the barrier between you and the audience as quickly as possible.

2. I have to give a ton of information to look credible. Albert Einstein said, "Any fool can make things bigger and more complex. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." Especially in today's busy and noisy world, audiences appreciate a presenter who makes things simple and who takes less time than they are given. Credibility is not accomplished by data volume, but by presenter authenticity.

3. I have to please everyone in the audience. There are at least four different personality types in your audience at any given time. The fun-loving people want interaction and humor. The fact-loving people want data and logic. The people-loving people want stories and emotions. The order-loving people want you to know what you are doing. You can't please everyone all the time, but you can please everyone at least more than once.

4. I have to run a meeting or presentation a certain way because "that is how it has always been done." This misconception is all about risk. It is shocking how many professionals hamstring their personal effectiveness and their presentation's impact simply because they don't understand risk always comes before value.

5. I have to assume people are not going to listen and are not going to get involved because they don't for anyone else. If the presenter doesn't take control of the room, the room will take control of the presentation. The speaker to audience ratio makes the old axiom, "expectations equal behavior" hold very true for presentations. Most audiences don't actively listen to presentations because they aren't worth listening to. Yours should be different.


Anonymous said...


I'm about to make my first significant public speaking engagement on sales in September! This information just changed everything for me! I found you by the way of Steve Roesler's blog and I'm sure glad I did! Thank you for the information!

Cory Garrison

Jackie Cameron said...

Hi Rhett
I teach public speaking. I do a lot of work with young people in schools. The working with nerves is always fun! The trick is not to suggest any other trigger for nervousness as there is always someone who is making a checklist and trying to experience them all -Sweaty palms? Check! Heart racing? Check! Dry mouth? Check!

I too came to your blog via Steve - and i will be back