Friday, April 2, 2010

Ignoring your audience is a bad idea

Recently I ran across an article with the peculiar title of Audience Public Speaking Cancellation Technique in which Michelle Green-Brown suggested some advice even worse than imaging that your audience is naked. She said that:

“….When you look out and are ready to deliver your speech all eyes will be on you, but you can focus and visualize an empty room, giving you the freedom and charisma that comes naturally. Even if you're an introverted person by nature, you can use this to make the room virtually disappear.”

In an eHow article on How to Battle Stage Fright Nico Riley also says:

“Don’t focus on the audience. Direct your energy into your performance and imagine that the audience is not even there. You can imagine that there is a curtain or wall separating you from the audience and act like you’re rehearsing in a comfortable setting.”

I think this is appallingly bad advice. It may barely work for overcoming terror. But, if you remove the audience from your thoughts, then you will give a less than mediocre presentation.

ElsabĂ© Manning also mentions this topic in her article Public Speaking – The Worst Advice and comments that:

“Another 'tip' I have come across is to pretend that the audience isn't there. This probably works in a way because I can guarantee, if you pretend the audience isn't there, pretty soon they won't be!”

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