This is the simplest, but
pretty much the most important, of all the rules of
speaking in public.
When I was in the band, I
used to say that our audience will never get more
excited about our music than we will.
years, our band traveled the country, playing every
kind of venue you can think of. We sold out at pubs
and taverns, we broke attendance records in some
venues, and we even had a fan club. The funny thing
about this is that we werenít that good of a band!
Our music was fine, but not nearly as good as many
other bands. We werenít as polished as many other
bands, plus we didnít have the best equipment on the
planet. I believe we just werenít as talented as
many other bands, but they werenít doing nearly as
well as we were. So, what was our secret? We were
had more fun on that stage than any other band
touring around, during that time period. We made
jokes, we screwed up regularly on stage, we laughed
at each other, we jumped around, and we had loads
and loads of fun every single time we hit the stage,
but every second of it was sincere and honest. We
just loved to be in front of an audience, and it
showed. The result was that we had people flocking
in to come and see us play.
The exact same concept holds
true for speakers. Some speakers donít seem to
appreciate the magnitude of the opportunity, or the
responsibility theyíve been given by being on the
stage. The Spotlight is glorious, and we, as
speakers, should respect it, we should savor it and
most of all, we should enjoy it.
The worst thing a speaker can
do to an audience is to bore them. An audience will
forgive just about any mishap, any mistake, or any
fumble, as long as theyíre having a good time.
Thereís no way an audience is going to have a good
time, if the speaker isnít also.
Iím not suggesting that you
need to jump around like an idiot on the stage. We
did that in the band at times, because it was
fitting of the environment we were in. Iím simply
suggesting that your audience will never elevate
themselves beyond your emotional elevation. While
youíre on stage, youíre the leader. Your audience
looks to you to establish the emotional altitude.
So, whatís the lesson? Above
all else, have fun. Your audience will love you for