Public speaking is one of those topics where people tend to believe advice they hear about it. This is primarily because most people associate some sort of discomfort (which can range from a minor dislike to a true phobia) with public speaking. And when we don’t understand something or lack expertise in a certain area, we tend to believe what we hear from people we perceive as experts.
As I began to study the fine art of public speaking (you probably never saw it referred to so eloquently), I started to notice a few things. The first was that there’s a substantial amount of “common wisdom” that’s found in multiple sources. This is common with any subject that has been written about in hundreds of books. But as I actually began to deal with my fears and started speaking to groups I found that some of this “common wisdom” did not work for me. And I as began teaching others how to deal with their speaking fears and improve their presentation skills, I found that some of this advice didn’t work for them either.
I’m in no way saying that everything said by every person that calls themselves a presentation skills expert is untrue. But what I am saying is that a lot of advice, some of which can be found in multiple sources, is either totally untrue or does not apply to everyone. Much of this advice suggests that speaking effectively to groups is much easier than it really is. While I agree that most people perceive the task of becoming a better a speaker to be more difficult than it really is, I disagree that it’s something that can be done with minimal effort.
So over the next two months, I’ll be tackling some of this so called advice. I invite to you to come along for the ride – you can get a preview of some of these myths in my December e-zine and keep current with the latest updates via my full feed RSS. And as always, I encourage your comments.