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Confident Public Speaking


Speaking Tips     Overcoming Fear     Speech Writing     Wedding Speeches
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt,
so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. - Collosians 4:6

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Confident Public Speaking need not remain a distant pipe dream.  Sometimes we need to integrate a few practical tips into our speaking repertoire, and sometimes we need to realize that small errors and mistakes are barely noticeable by an audience.  Let's take a minute and talk about that last point...
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And there's a way to test this hypotheses that I'm sharing:  I've heard of speakers, professional big-name, keynote guys who are fluent in confident public speaking, who've made technical or content errors during their speeches, beat themselves up over it, all the time thinking that they've truly gone ahead and done it this time, and that their careers were now finally over.

Then they watch a video-recorded version of the talk afterwards, only to realize that from the audience's perspective, it was barely worth a moment’s attention.  Almost nobody would've seen it - it wasn't this giant obvious error that the speaker had made it out in his mind to be.

I have a friend, a preacher, who regularly walks up to me after his Sunday messages looking for some feedback or encouragement, which I love to give.  He's a good speaker, and his messages are usually good.  But time and again he'll come to me with some huge mistake that he's made, and how he's feeling stupid for doing it.

But time and again, my question to him is:  What mistake? I hardly ever notice the things that he frets about, the (in his mind) huge errors and glaring ommissions he created.

What to him is a giant mistake that the whole world has noticed and is secretly laughing about whenever he looks down at his notes, was... well, almost nothing.

This ties in with the fact that the audience does not hate you.  Most people will very casually skip over, or completely ignore any mistake that you make during your presentations.  A confident Public Speaking persona will simply get on with the talk without drawing further attention away from the topic.

So the worst thing you can do is to apologize for every blooper, typo or grammar error you might make during your speeches, instead, take it in your stride, realize that nobody's perfect and try to remember that your mistakes seem 10x worse to you then they really are.

Now of course, there are certain kinds of mistakes that are more serious, especially if its the kind that draws inevitable attention - that deserve an apology.  If I was to casually stride around the stage, take a misstep and tumble down the stairs to the front row, it would hardly be mature to pretend no-one noticed it and just carry on as if nothing happened.

So as with all things, common sense is needed.  But the general rule is that your mistakes are nowhere near the big deal to the audience that you make them out to be.  While you’re fretting over some blooper, chances are that no-one else cares.  The audience, for all you know, probably didn't even see it.  It's one of the many keys to confident public speaking.
Confident Public Speaking
Your mistakes seem 10x worse to you, than it does to the audience.

When you're behind the lectern, with all the attention on the room zoomed in on you (and the accompanying pressure that that brings), it’s easy to take yourself so seriously that you automatically magnify every small little misstep you might take in your speech, thinking that the audience will likely stone you any minute now, for being such a horrid and irresponsible speakers, when in fact most of them probably didn't notice it.
Here's a profound, but hard-to-grasp truth about public speaking that newer speakers often miss: