Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Advice on eye contact not followed by the man giving it

Andy Harrington has a teaser YouTube video called Public Speaking Fear - The Truth, which gives the following numerically challenged advice:

“Public speaking is considered by many people to be their number one fear. But, there are a number of ways of overcoming the fear of public speaking.

Here’s one you may have never thought of before. Essentially, when in a large group of people, what you do when speaking is just talk to one person at a time. By doing this, and making it conversational, and holding that contact for say, seven to ten seconds, what happens is you won’t get overwhelmed by all the many eyes staring back at you.

Let’s watch a live demonstration of this as I present at the London XL Center and the London O2 arena alongside Sir Richard Branson, Alan Sugar, and Anthony Robbins.

....Eye contact! So, here’s what you do. There’s 8000 people in this room. My job is to have 8000 individual conversations with you. Meaning, I pick one person out, I focus on you, I speak to you for five seconds. I pick somebody else out, I speak to you for just five seconds.

I look in the back, and I look at my focus over there. Pick one person. I look directly at you and I look at you, and I speak to you personally for that time. I come right back here, and I speak just to you for that period of time. I look at the back, and find someone else, and speak to him for five seconds, and hold that gaze.     

You do that and you’ll do something very important. It meets a very important human need, if you looked at Tony Robbins’ human needs. It fulfills your need for significance. Write it down!”

Well, Andy, write this down. Multiply 8000 times five seconds, and you get 40,000 seconds. Divide it by 60, and that’s 666.66 minutes. Divide it by 60 again, and that’s 11.11 hours. Did you get to talk to that audience for over eleven hours? If you instead had looked at each person for ten seconds, you’d need to have talked for 22.22 hours. So, you didn’t really follow your own advice.

However, I have spoken to an audience of 80 people for 40 minutes, so I actually could have taken less than 7 minutes to look at and briefly speak to everyone.  

The All Eyes Are on You image was derived from a March 5, 1913 Puck magazine cover.

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