Posted by: George E Burney | March 7, 2012

Public Speaking: Never Fear Your Audience!

An unreasonable fear of speaking to an audience paralyzes many would-be speakers. They would love to get up and speak to an assembled group, but are stymied by the thought of facing an audience. The problem lies in how they view their audience.

If you feel that way, you shouldn’t. Here’s why. First, an audience is made up of people who, for the most part, are just like you. When you’re in the audience, and someone else is to speak, are you critical of him before he even utters his first words? No, like most people, you’re fair-minded and will give him a chance to express himself. Others will do the same for you.

Second, the audience has assembled to hear you, or perhaps you and others. They have an investment in time, and they want their investment to pay off.  That puts them on your side. Your success is their success, so they want you to succeed.

Third, most in the audience would much rather quietly slip out a side door than come up and take your place, and they know it. So, they respect you for being willing to speak, and may even admire you for having the courage to do something they’re afraid to do.

Fourth, you have an “unfair advantage.” Let me explain that. When you were in school, how would you have felt to learn that  one student in your class had been given the questions which would be on an upcoming exam? Wouldn’t you feel that he had an unfair advantage? While you and the other students had to study all the assigned material to be prepared, he had only to review the answers to those questions!

Well, in this case, you’re that student. You know what you’re going to say, but no one else does! You have only to study your material well to be heads and shoulders above your audience, since they haven’t prepared as you have.

Therefore, there’s little reason to worry about the comparative levels of knowledge. You’ve had time to research and to analyze your information. So, you’re the expert!

So, all things considered, why fear your audience?

Copyright © 2012 by George Burney and betterpublicspeaking


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