Better Presentation Skills – Don’t Care Too Much About What Happens!

Caring about your audience and how you do as a speaker is a good thing. If you don’t care about what you do, how well you do it, or what the audience takes away from it then you are just apathetic and probably shouldn’t be speaking to this group.

However, caring too much can be just as bad as not caring enough. By caring too much you actually reduce your ability to perform well. It sounds ironic, but the more importance you put on succeeding, the less likely you are to succeed.

Caring too much is the number one reason people feel nervous before they speak. There are many reasons you can care too much: you are afraid of being embarrassed, the speech is important to your career so you want to do well, you think the audience is hostile, etc.

Allowing these nerves in makes it very hard for you to perform your best. It is hard to speak naturally when you are freaking out!

This happened to me in my early speaker days, during one of my first “big” speeches. I walked in to the event with my speech prepared. However, before my speech I spoke with several of the attendees. I found out that the year before that had a world champion boxer as their speaker. Here I was, this young guy going to do this little comedy speech, when they were used to speakers who had been on the world stage! “There is no way they are going to like my stuff,” I thought.

On top of that, I started discovering that a lot of these people were very successful. Way more successful than me. Also, this was my first “big” speech and I wanted to do really well so I could get referrals and follow up business. I was counting on it.

I got up to speak, but it was too late. I cared too much, and psyched myself out. The speech was OK (they didn’t ask for their money back or anything) but I got zero referrals or follow up. Nada. Zilch.

I realized afterward that the problem was that I put too much importance on what the audience would think. I wanted to do a great job and give great value to the audience, but I realized that all I could do was worry about doing my best, and if they didn’t like it, too bad.

Now, whenever I start to get nervous about a speaking engagement, or anything else for that matter, I remind myself to do my best and not care so much about what the audience thinks. When I do this, my nerves immediately calm and I am able to perform much better. I encourage you to try this before your next presentation.