Posted by: George E Burney | May 18, 2012

Public Speaking – What’s The Worst That Can Happen?

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If you’re hesitating to take the plunge into public speaking, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that can possibly happen, even if I fail miserably in my first attempt at public speaking?” I’ll tell you. You’ll be embarrassed. Perhaps you’ll be very embarrassed. That’s it! And then what? Nothing, absolutely nothing!

What Happened Before?

Instead of imagining how terrible even that would be, do this: Think back to the most embarrassing incident in your entire life. What happened after that? Nothing that matters to you today, right? So, any discomfort you felt was just temporary, wasn’t it? So, for all practical purposes, you could say that the result was … nothing.

Only if you’ve allowed that experience to control some aspect of your life can it be said that the experience actually harmed you. And, if that’s the case, it’s so only because you chose to allow it to. It’s over, so let it go. Everyone else has.

What If You’re Criticized?

Back to the present. Suppose you somehow manage to give an absolutely horrible presentation. What then? Most people will be in your corner. The next time you speak, they’ll pull for you, and will admire you for your courage.

But what if someone says something negative to you about your presentation? It’s unlikely, but if they do, take it away from them by beating them at their own game.

If they say it was bad, you thank them and say they’re just being kind to you, that it worse than bad, it was simply atrocious! As you go on and on, they’ll soon tire of it, stop you and say that you’re getting carried away, it wasn’t that bad. They’ll try to balance the scales, and will wind up complimenting you. So, you can effectively neutralize even your worst critics by outdoing them.

However, the odds are maybe 100 to 1 that you’ll never have to employ that device. So, where does that leave you? With no audible critics, except the worst critic of all – you. Let’s go back to your most embarrassing incident. Who has been your worst critic about that incident since it happened? You. So, self-criticism was the most harmful result of the incident, not what others did or said.

You’re In Control!

That’s good to know, because it tells you that the worst outcome of your giving the worst presentation of all time will be the criticism you’ll level at yourself. What’s good about that? Well, that’s the only thing you can control after your presentation! So, the outcome is in your hands. You’ll determine how things turn out by how you choose to view the matter afterwards.

Of course, you can easily avoid what’s mentioned above, and make it a good presentation, and you will. We’ll talk about what you can do in other posts. The point of this post is that you can effectively deal with whatever may happen, even it you hit the jackpot and give the worst presentation ever!

For a more comprehensive discussion of public speaking, please see my eBook, How To Master Public Speaking, Quickly and Easily, available at For more information, click here:


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