Thursday, July 30, 2009
Who said to picture your audience naked?
In a post yesterday on his Speaker Confessions blog Scott Berkun asked where the questionable advice about picturing your audience naked came from. He said he had already tried the following and come up empty:
1.Asked Toastmasters International Headquarters
2. Tried various Google/Internet searches
3. Looked in over 50 books on public speaking
4. Asked some presentation experts
I took a crack at his question, and found an answer via Google Book Search. It makes sense, since that source was someone very well-known for his mastery of public speaking.
In Dorothy Sarnoff’s book, Speech Can Change Your Life, 1970, on page 199 it says that: “Winston Churchill overcame his early fear of audiences by imagining that each of them was sitting there naked.”
A similar quote (with two additional celebrities) also appears in Dorothy Leeds book, PowerSpeak, 2003, on page 33: “Winston Churchill liked to imagine that each member of the audience was naked. Franklin Roosevelt pretended that the members all had holes in their socks. Carol Burnett thinks of them sitting on the commode.”
I much prefer Franklin Roosevelt’s image choice. By the way, the cartoon above is a color version of the only nude image we have sent outside of our Solar System (the little plaque on the Pioneer 11 spacecraft).