Don’t be too honest with your audience Part II

I spend a fair amount of time in my car so I listen to a lot of talk radio. In fact, I have noticed a direct correlation between my increasing age and the amount of AM radio I listen to. One aspect of talk radio is, of course, the callers. Ordinary people who dial in to a radio show with a question or comment. So often I’ll hear a caller begin making their comments and then stop and announce “I’m sorry, I’m really nervous.” Invariably I think to myself “if you hadn’t told me I wouldn’t have known.”

I was on a sales call recently with a colleague who works in Operations. He’s not accustomed to making presentations and was anxious. He made sure to let everyone in the audience know “I hate public speaking, it makes me so nervous.”

Again, if he hadn’t alerted the audience to the fact that he was nervous they would never have known.
Telling the audience how nervous you are serves as nothing more than a distraction. It becomes what the audience is thinking about while you’re talking. The audience becomes preoccupied with looking for signs of your nervousness rather than focusing on your presentation.

There are techniques to deal with public speaking nerves (a post for another day) but letting your audience know how nervous you are in no way helps your situation. Honesty is the best policy but that doesn’t mean you have to share everything with everyone. When it comes to nerves before your presentation it’s best to keep it to yourself.

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