How to Quickly Become a More Confident Speaker Without Breaking a Sweat!
I know this is a weird question to ask. But your audience’s energy and feedback can either heighten or hinder your performance. For instance, maybe you’re always thinking things like: “That kid popping his gum thinks I’m an idiot,” or “That person who walked out must have been so bored,” or “Why is everyone but that guy paying attention?”
If you struggle with thoughts like these, you may be a co-dependent speaker who needs to please others more than yourself. YIKES! “Co-dependent on my audience? Now you might be thinking, “I only have time to be co-dependant in my personal relationships.”
But with your own audience? Yes, co-dependency in a relationship is challenging, but it can ruin your speaking career.
Here’s what I mean: As a humorist, I live and die for the laughs. But when I put my speaker hat on, I have to stick to my plan and present my material the best way I feel is necessary so that the majority of the room appreciates it. And you should do the same.
You see, if you’re trying to turn circles to please your audience, you’ll forget things like organization and delivering a convincing speech. For optimal speaking, you should stop trying to please your audience while you’re in the middle of speaking!
That’s right! Stop thinking about it now. This doesn’t mean that you never try to please your audience, though. You need to focus on this when you’re preparing your materials, though, rather than while you’re giving your speech.
As a former actor, I know it’s better to rehearse before you get to the stage.
Take it from me: a good actor never, ever gets in front of an audience without being prepared first. Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice does. The same goes for a good speaker.
The best sort of speaker will have a clearly organized speech with memorized quotes and well thought out stories.
The speech will flow naturally not because he’s winging it but because he has prepared for hours and hours before he stepped up to the microphone.
Pleasing your audience in speaking is a lot like pleasing your audience in acting.
As an actor, my job on performance nights isn’t to connect with the audience but to hit my marks and deliver each line flawlessly. When you do this, the audience automatically connects to you. As a speaker, your job is the same.
Regardless of how the audience is reacting, your job is to deliver a well-prepared, exciting, interesting speech with all the right content and emotions. If you start to alter your performance based on how you perceive your audience’s reactions, you’ll inevitably fail.
This is especially true when it comes to storytelling. When you’re putting a story into your speech, it needs to be carefully crafted, line by line, so that it has the impact you need.
Writers don’t pull stories out of the air in a day, and neither can speakers. Instead of knowing the basic outline of your story and changing it for each performance, you should have a carefully worded story crafted and memorized for every speech in which you use it.
In my 30 years performing in front of audiences, I’ve learned that they’re incredibly fickle. No matter what reactions I expect from certain jokes, lines, or stories, they’ll more often than not defy my expectations.
The good news, is NOW I don’t depend on audiences anymore. And you should hopefully do the same.
Now, you should focus on depending upon yourself. You should set your own high standards and spend hours preparing for each speech so you can meet them. Stick to your guns and try to reach your own goals.
You see, I know when I’ve met my personal goals, when I couldn’t care less about what my audience thinks. (Yes, it’s a yin and yang sort of thing.) Strangely enough, when I decide to care more about how I feel about my speech than how my audience feels about it, I get more enthusiastic applause every time.
Bill Cosby once said, “I don’t know the secret of success, but I do know the secret of failure… trying to please everyone!”
Words to live, don’t you think? Try doing it this way and see if your presentation doesn’t reach a higher level of impact!
Article by: Peter Fogel