Public Speaking. You know what I’m talking about. It’s the perfect fusion of being in front of a group of people and giving a presentation. The thing is, you might love it- or hate it.
But which one? Public speaking comes with both positives and negatives, which leads to some people loving their job in this area and others loathing it. Let’s take a look at both sides of the spectrum and draw the line between the two opposites
Like most people, there are many things I love and hate about public speaking
If you’re like most people, there are many things you love and hate about public speaking. Keep reading for a list of the public speaking love-hate relationships I’ve experienced firsthand. I’m sure you’ll recognize a few from your own experience!
There’s nothing quite like the immediate gratification of a standing ovation, but if it doesn’t come, my mood can be ruined.
There’s nothing quite like the immediate gratification of a standing ovation, but if it doesn’t come, my mood can be ruined. I go from elated to deflated in less than five seconds. One second my voice is ringing with confidence and excitement, the next I’m wondering why I do this to myself when I could be playing a flute instead of talking about it.
I think that’s why other speakers sometimes say they’d rather have an audience hate their talk than not have an opinion on it at all. There’s no middle ground. You either get a standing ovation or the opposite of one—people throwing rotten vegetables at you—but anything in between is just meh and uneventful.
My nerves don’t always disappear just because I have given the same talk a 100 times.
You might be surprised to learn that my nerves don’t always disappear just because I have given the same talk 100 times. Sometimes they still show up. And that’s a good thing!
Nerves are natural and most often you won’t even notice them because you’re too busy enjoying yourself on stage. But sometimes they can hit me right before I get up in front of a big crowd, or when there is an extremely technical audience, or when I’m at a new venue.
You may think this is where your nerves become a problem.
But it’s not! There are so many ways to deal with your nerves and turn them into assets: breathing exercises, positive affirmations, visualizing your success and smiling are all great techniques to help you handle those butterflies in your stomach.
The best part of being a speaker is connecting with an audience.
The best part of being a speaker is connecting with an audience. As you watch them listen to you, it’s a good feeling to know that they’re getting something out of what you’re saying. If they ask questions after your presentation, this means they found your topic interesting and want to learn more.
Don’t just go in and talk about yourself; answer their questions honestly, even if it means admitting that you don’t have the information they request. It shows that you care about them and are willing to meet their needs.
There’s nothing like the adrenaline rush you get from being on stage.
There’s nothing like the adrenaline rush you get from being on stage. That feeling of excitement, happiness, joy and mixed with serotonin, dopamine and endorphins is incomparable to anything else in your life.
I feed on their energy and their laughter is contagious, which helps me to feel more relaxed and have fun.
Laughter is contagious. When you laugh, the people around you are more likely to laugh. It’s a great feeling to be in a room full of people who are laughing and having fun because you are speaking to them.
As a professional speaker, one of my favorite feelings is when I can get an audience laughing at something I have said.
It is amazing how much laughing helps me relax! If the audience laughs it makes me feel good and if I am feeling good then I am much more relaxed than if they weren’t laughing or having fun while they listen.
If they like what they hear and begin to laugh it gives me energy as well as helps me relax which helps make my presentation better for everyone involved!
On the flip side, public speaking has made me fearful of all other social interactions.
On the flip side, public speaking has made me fearful of all other social interactions. I’ve seen so many people in public speaking try to force the conversation into their topic that they forget that it’s still a conversation. Don’t forget to ask questions. Don’t make your whole life about giving speeches or ads or presentations; use your skills for good, not just for profit.
Public speaking has made me feel like I’m constantly being judged.
Public speaking has made me feel like I’m constantly being judged, even on an ordinary basis. When I’m in a group of people, my mind automatically goes to the idea that everyone is judging me, and when I don’t do well at something, they’re all just waiting for me to fail.
This needn’t be the case at all. It’s not that public speaking has made me afraid of what others think of me or anything like that; instead, it’s really just been a matter of being self-conscious and fearful of being judged by others, which is something I’ve had my entire life.
It’s easy for me to feel uncomfortable at social events where I don’t know anyone.
Does this sound familiar? I think many of us can relate to feeling uncomfortable at social events where we don’t know anyone. This is especially true if you are a shy or introverted person.
I will admit that it’s easy for me to feel this way.
The thought that goes through my mind is “what am I going to say?” Or “What if I make a mistake and say the wrong thing?” Or even worse, what if people think I’m boring?
In some cases, these thoughts may paralyze me from saying anything at all.
As a speaker, you’re also forced to make small talk with strangers.
As a speaker, you’re also forced to make small talk with strangers. This is a huge challenge for introverts and extroverts alike. Here are some reasons why speakers may be good or bad at small talk.
- For some people, being the center of attention comes naturally, and they enjoy it. For others, it’s uncomfortable because they feel exposed or vulnerable.
- Some people go out of their way to meet new people, but others might prefer to stick with familiar faces throughout events.
- Many speakers tend to be introverted but not all—even if you’re an extrovert doesn’t mean you’ll always enjoy interacting with strangers.
Small talk isn’t just polite conversation either: it’s important in business interactions to build trust and rapport by getting past the surface level details of someone’s life (where do you work? how did your commute go?) and onto something more personal that’ll help you relate to each other better as human beings (what do you love most about your job?).
This will cultivate a connection more quickly than otherwise possible—but good luck doing that without being able to hold a conversation!
I never quite know what to say beforehand or what to do afterward.
Here’s the deal. If you want to make the most of your opportunities, you have to get out of your comfort zone. You have to figure out how to connect with people who are in the audience and who are passing through afterward.
What does this mean? This means that you have to figure out what to ask them about before you even meet them. It takes a little bit of research, but it pays off big.
This means that when you go up on that stage, or when you meet someone afterward, there’s a good chance they will be impressed if they realize that you know something personal about them. It’ll show them that public speaking is not just something that comes naturally to you—it’s something that requires work.
Public speaking has made me very conscious of how much time I’m taking up from others’ lives and how uninteresting I might be coming across.
A huge part of being interesting to others is being interested in them. This is what makes it so great to get to speak with people after my talks. I’m not a particularly extroverted person and often find it difficult to come up with a topic of conversation with strangers, but when you make someone feel like you’re genuinely interested in what they think, their stories, and how they got to where they are today—it becomes easier than you might imagine.
When it comes down to me actually giving the talk though—the more I practice something the better I am at delivering it—so before giving a talk, I’ve learned by experience that there’s nothing quite like having practiced the material beforehand under time constraints.
In most instances, public speaking requires only a single skill: conveying ideas clearly and concisely within a particular timeframe.
To do this well is perhaps much easier said than done though—and for making that happen at all times, practicing before an audience (even if just via recording yourself) can be incredibly illuminating and help you identify areas for improvement.
Public speaking has some good and bad parts
Regardless of how you feel about public speaking, you are going to gain a lot from the experience. Having to talk in front of a group of people forces you to:
- Be vulnerable
- Look at your strengths and weaknesses
- Consider other people’s needs
- Improve your leadership skills
You will learn a lot about yourself when you get up in front of many people. Sometimes, when we are nervous, we think that we will make fools out of ourselves. Really though, public speaking can be an amazing opportunity for personal development as well as growth as a leader.
I’d like to finish this article by telling you that there is no need to be scared of public speaking. At the end of the day, remember: it isn’t as if any of us are exactly enjoying soliloquizing in front of all our peers and friends.
Most of us go through all sorts of means to avoid talking in class, during meetings, and even when going on a blind date! Once we get on stage though, I hope you’ll agree that all that nervousness just goes away, even if only temporarily. Just know that once you hit your stride, those butterflies will fly off into the sunset and you’ll be free to do whatever it is that makes you comfortable up there.
What is your most memorable experience of public speaking?