speaker, public, speaking

If you ever wondered why so many speakers fail to deliver on their promises, then you’ve just found the answer to your problem.

I know it sounds simplistic, but I had to work out for myself why I couldn’t command any kind of control in front of a crowd of people.

You might think I’m just saying this for the sake of it, but I’ve often wondered if there’s more to it than that.

If there is, then why didn’t it click straight away? There’s more to it than you might think.

It’s what makes you question whether you’re ever going to be able to do it.

I was in the school assembly hall and I was picked to be part of the talent show.

I sang a Michael Jackson song and I got a lot of attention. The coach was very pleased with me and I had a warm glow.

The next thing I know, a week later I’m called into the head teacher’s office.

I thought I’d done something wrong

A woman advises the CEO, (out of frame), while he fields questions from the floor, A Celebration of Woman’s Day, Seattle Region, Bellevue, Washington, USA. All the women shown work in high tech as consultants in the US. They are the best and brightest from universities in India. They remain concerned about children in general but specifically girls in India and the rest of the developing world and aspire to help them. Their topics deal with improving children’s lives with education, fulfilling other needs. A sub-section of technology workers, many of these women are in the US on H1-B Visas.

“I’m sorry to have to tell you that you have failed your driver theory test,” she said.

“I’m afraid you have to leave school.”

And that was the first time I was asked to leave school.

I was 15 years old.

You’re probably wondering why I’m telling you this story?

Well, first of all, I want you to realize that I made some fundamental mistakes when I was younger.

I chose to pretend I’d done something wrong and made a bad choice in pretending to be a good person.

Why did I make that choice? I’m not sure

To my mind, there are two reasons why public speaking has such a bad reputation.

The first is fear. Many people are afraid to speak in public, so it goes unnoticed.

The second is insecurity.

When you speak to people, you might feel unsure of your own ability, so you will be far more likely to rely on the confidence of the crowd.

Insecurity is a great way to make people underestimate you. Why? Because it makes you look uncertain, awkward, uncertain, terrified, uncertain. And in the presence of uncertain people, insecure people are rarely noticed at all.

If you feel insecure, what you’ll do is act on your insecurities


What is it that you’re insecure about? Maybe you have this feeling that you’re not the right kind of person to speak to a crowd of strangers.

This is a legitimate fear. However, it’s completely different from insecurity. Insecurity is a feeling that you’re not good enough.

I felt insecure because I was a boy, and sometimes because I was a fat boy. And so insecurities like these will be all-consuming.

Even if you’re not that insecure, if you feel that you aren’t the sort of person that people want to listen to, then you might make the decision that you’ll only talk to people who agree with you.

If you’re not comfortable with yourself, then you won’t talk to people. And so, you won’t be able to feel confident.

You’ll live inside yourself, safe inside your own thoughts.

You’ll know what you’re good at, you’ll know how to speak to people, and you won’t have any fear of people thinking you’re weird, unconfident, or stupid.

But you’ll be lonely and isolated. You’ll never experience life, you’ll never interact with others, you’ll never build a relationship.

This is an easy option. It’s all about choosing how you view people, and it’s why public speaking is so terrifying for so many people.

Instead of just giving me this advice and seeing me go, you can stop reading this right now, and write down what you’re really afraid of.

Then you can choose which one of those fears you will embrace.

Let’s start with public speaking.

The talk

There’s an incredibly interesting story in the bible.

It’s from Mark 2 when Jesus healed a blind man.

Jesus entered a house, sat down, and asked the man to come to him.

And the blind man did.

There are two significant differences from what many people would have expected.

Firstly, in Mark, Jesus is the only one who could see the man, and he simply asks him to come to him.

In Luke, we are told that a crowd had gathered, all wanting to see Jesus.

But it seems that the man didn’t just hear Jesus’ call. He came, even though he was completely blind.

Why did he do this?

Maybe he felt threatened. Maybe he was angry. Maybe he was surprised.

What I think happened is that this guy felt completely unconfident.

As far as he was concerned, he didn’t belong in that crowd. They were all too far out of his league.

The second difference is that in Luke, it’s Jesus who shows the man his new vision.

In Mark, he simply looks into his eyes and tells him his vision has come.

But the man doesn’t even notice that his eyes are open.

In Luke, Jesus heals the man’s eyes and doesn’t say anything more.

Jesus knows that the man is blind.

Jesus has to keep the man focused, even though his eyes are opened.

In the beginning, the vision is fuzzy and seems to be coming from the man’s brain.

Jesus makes sure that it’s only his vision that is blinded.

When I was the only one who could see you, it felt as though my blindness only affected you.

And I couldn’t see the vast amount of people who only saw me.