Speaking in public: Two Errors that Lead to Fear
2. You believe that the subject of the talk is you
When you stand up to give a speech, there’s a temptation to believe that the audience is actually interested in you.
This just isn’t true. (Or if it is, it doesn’t benefit you to think that it is).
You are not being judged, the value of what you are bringing to the audience is being judged. The topic of the talk isn’t you, the topic of the talk is the audience, and specifically, how they can use your experience and knowledge to achieve their objectives.
When a professional singer sings a song of heartbreak, his heart is not breaking in that moment. His performance is for you, not for him. (The infinite self-reference loop here is that the professional singer finds what he needs when you find what you need.)
The members of the audience are interested in themselves. The audience wants to know what they can use, what they can learn, or at the very least, how they can be entertained.
If you dive into your (irrelevant to the listener) personal hurdles, if you try to justify what you’ve done, if you find yourself aswirl in a whirlpool of the resistance, all you’re providing is a little schadenfreude as a form of entertainment.
On the other hand, if you realize that you have a chance to be generous in this moment, to teach and to lead, you can leave the self-doubt behind and speak a truth that the audience needs to hear. When you bring that to people who need it, your fear pales in comparison.
Media you choose to do is always about the audience. That’s why you’re doing it. The faster we get over ourselves, the sooner we can do a good job for those tuning in.
~ Seth Godin