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If you are in business there are going to be occasions when you have to address an audience. When you are watching someone else speaking at an event it comes across as easy. In truth standing up in front of an audience and setting one’s stall out can be the most unnerving experience.
Curious as to how some well-known figures respond to such situations a test was carried out. Several heroic figures, including a mountaineer and a fighter pilot, were wired up. Whilst doing their highly stressful ‘day jobs’ the trauma of their climbing crevices or soaring through the skies in mock combat their stress was barely noticeable. However, when these volunteers were wired up before and as they addressed audiences their heart rate and blood pressure shot up to the red section on the gauge.
Constantly referring to notes as you speak or reading from a written speech is a no-no. You will still trip over your own tongue and your presentation will be met with a polite response but the impact of what you want to say will be negligible.
My worst experience was when I reluctantly accepted an invitation to speak before an audience of several hundred in a conference room at the Holiday Inn in Washington DC. It gets worse, the auditorium was situated a few metres from Capitol Hill and the attendees were mostly of an academic type.
As I progressed at constantly and nervously peered at my notes. Instinctively, I realised I was making a spectacle of myself. Then, impulsively shoving my notes to one side I continued. I was animated and I spoke passionately. Frankly, I had no idea how my speech would be received. Sweating from the tension and exertion I had reached the stage where I couldn’t have cared less.
Finally, I drew a line under my delivery and waited for several hundred deadpan expressions and a slow handclap. What I didn’t expect was thunderous applause from an audience now standing at its feet with many rushing to the podium to grasp my hand. Is there a lesson to be learned? Yes, nothing beats conviction and compassion.
There is no easy solution. Some find addressing an audience easy and some find doing so their worst nightmare. The fortunate speakers tend to be the exhibitionists of life and self-confident. The rest of us would prefer a visit to the dentist. Those called to the soapbox have their own tricks to help them through the ordeal. I cottoned on to mine when I was in my early twenties.
I had two strategies. I never look at the entire audience. It is there, of course, but for me it is wallpaper. When I address an audience, I speak to myself aloud. It works, for me and it might work for you too.
The other ploy I learned quite early on. I often noticed that amongst the hundred or so faces staring up at me there was one always one soul who appeared to be responding well to my presentation. Ignoring the rest of the audience I spoke directly to him or her as though we were having a one-to-one meeting. For me, it worked like a charm.
MICHAEL WALSH is a journalist, broadcaster and the author of WITNESS TO HISTORY, RISE OF THE SUN WHEEL (Paperback / Ebook), TROTSKY’S WHITE NEGROES, MEGACAUST, DEATH OF A CITY, MY LAST TESTAMENT LET GOD JUDGE ME, THE ALL LIES INVASION (Paperback / Ebook), THE All LIES INVASION II (Paperback / Ebook), Odyssey Adolf Hitler, SLAUGHTER OF A DYNASTY, REICH AND WRONG, THE RED BRIGANDS, RANSACKING THE REICH, SCULPTURES OF THE THIRD RIECH: ARNO BREKER AND REICH SCULPTORS, SCULPTURES OF THE THIRD REICH VOLUME II Josef Thorak and Reich Sculptors, SCULPTURES OF THE THIRD REICH VOLUME III Porcelain and Reich Sculptors, and other book titles. These best-selling books are essential for the libraries of informed readers.
MICHAEL WALSH is a journalist, author, and broadcaster. His 70 books include best-selling THE LAST GLADIATORS Fiancés of Death (Paperback / Ebook); AFRICA’S KILLING FIELDS: African Victims of the Liberal-Left (Paperback / Ebook); RHODESIA’S DEATH EUROPE’S FUNERAL European to Wall Street Colonialism (Paperback / Ebook); RISE OF THE SUN WHEEL (Paperback / Ebook), THE ALL LIES INVASION I, THE All LIES INVASION II, and many other book titles. These illustrated best-selling books are essential for the libraries of informed readers.
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MEGACAUST Michael Walsh. R. J. Rummel, Power Kills: Genocide and Mass Murder (Journal of Peace Research) 164 million people have been killed in cold blood this century by Capitalist / Communist governments.
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