Sunday, January 29, 2017

When you open with a phony statistic you torpedo your credibility

On January 4, 2017 Stefan Swanepoel posted an article at Business Insider titled I’ve given over 1,000 presentations in the past 30 years - here are my 5 best public speaking tips.

His second paragraph gave an excellent reason for listening to his advice:

“In the past three decades, I've given more than 1,200 presentations to upward of a million people. Many say the ability to speak before large crowds is innate, but I'm not sure that's true.” 

Then Stefan discussed his decent tips which were to:

1]  Map out the message.

2]  Speak from the heart.

3]  Use visuals.

4]  Be Prepared.

5]  Zone in.

But, his first paragraph already had torpedoed his credibility by claiming:

“Glossophobia - better known as a fear of public speaking - affects 74% of people, according to a National Institute of Mental Health survey. So it's no surprise the very thought of addressing large crowds causes so much stress, angst, and discomfort.”

First, Glossophobia is an almost useless pseudo-technical term.

Second, the link he provided for that 74% statistic points to a web page at Statistic Brain. It doesn’t link to a web page for a survey done by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) - there is no such survey. Back in 2014 I blogged about how Statistic Brain is just a statistical medicine show, and that percentages from NIMH sponsored research are much smaller.

The torpedoed ship image was adapted from a poster at the Library of Congress.

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