Joe Queenan, It’s Not So Bad!
In last Saturday’s WSJ, Joe Queenan humorously bemoans the hardships and challenges of public speaking – whether you’re in the audience or behind the podium.
Public speaking is a skill, and almost nobody has it. The ability to entertain an audience with which you are not perfectly attuned, an audience including a few people who may in fact, despise you, requires real talent, not just nerve.
Effective public speaking doesn’t require unusual talent. It requires a change in mindset.
Over and over, I find that what gets us so nervous about “public speaking” is that we feel like everyone’s staring at us – judging us. We dread being watched by a “group.”
The “group” here is a false notion. Everyone out there is listening to you as individuals. And your best chance to reach them is if you drop your “public speaking voice” and just talk to them as individuals. How? By making sustained eye contact (one person per thought) with one person at time.
From the Green Room: Effective “public speaking” requires a change in mindset: I am no longer “public speaking” to a group. Instead, I am talking to individuals and trying to make sure that each person in the room gets my message. This mental shift not only will reduce your anxiety but will make you a much more effective communicator.