Sunday, November 8, 2009

Who’s Afraid of The Big Bad Wolf?

If you know anything about my work, if you regularly read my articles or blog posts, or if you've read my Bestselling book, Your Voice Is Your Calling Card, you'd know without a doubt that I consider fear to be a speaker/performer's worst enemy - if not Mankind's. Fear creates blockages that stops energy from flowing freely within our being and prevents us from being our greatest, most courageous, and most brilliant self.

With that cut in stone once again beckons the question...

If fear is your first enemy, who’s your second?

Some would argue that your second enemy is the heckler, the crowd vampire, the one who feeds on you and your insecurities to soothe his own. Do not attempt to feed him; his hunger is insatiable—the more he eats, the more he craves.

In my experience, most crowds are welcoming and appreciative. Most likely they are attending the event because they are already interested—nobody forced them to come.
But you will get hecklers from time to time. No matter how excellent a speaker you are, you can be pretty sure that at some point or another, you will come across people who are reserved and apprehensive and seem “hard to get”—and you will experience people who are opposing, disruptive, and downright rude!

So what? As long as you know that you’re doing your job, then peace be with anyone who, for whatever reasons they may have, feels the urge to object. Try not to make it personal. Please know that this is not necessarily because they are nasty, arrogant people by nature. They are just playing out their own insecurities, often not realizing that they are actually behaving very badly, making fools of themselves, causing you to struggle, tapping your energy, and distracting your focus away from where it should be—on your expertise, your well-prepared topic, your presentation, and the people who are genuinely interested.

Do not let the crowd vampires get to you. Don’t allow them to project their emotions onto you and the rest of the crowd. Either ignore them, or, if the disruption continues, address them very directly and openly invite them to talk to you about whatever their issue may be after your presentation. Give them the center stage they so crave, and they will likely shy away from it. Their aim is to get people on their side, to feel like “somebody,” to pretend they know better than you. Being put on the spot will not do that for them. In fact, chances are they will suddenly feel very silly indeed and retreat.

Know that this kind of behavior is just part of human nature. These people are in desperate need of attention, praise, respect, or acknowledgment themselves, and therefore they find it hard to watch others or allow others to get their fair share of what they would like for themselves. They are probably also of the opinion that they are there to be entertained and enlightened, and so they expect you to deliver, to do something that they can’t do themselves—and do it right according to their ideas or standards. That is why you’re up there and they are not. You are supposed to be superhuman! And no matter how well you deliver, it may not ever be good or exciting enough.

Well, too bad for them. It is not your problem. You can’t ever please everyone in the entire world. Please don’t waste your gunpowder on these people. Use it somewhere else where the fireworks are appreciated. I’m serious. Really, it’s a common mistake to spend way too much energy trying to win over the one person who doesn’t want to know anyway. Don’t. Reserve your golden nuggets for the people who really want and appreciate them. Be aware that often unfriendly, reserved people turn out to be the most appreciative of all. It turns out that they are just shy or simply in awe.

Don’t ever be afraid of the audience. If you are very nervous, either try not to show it or simply say that you are without making a big fuss out of it. Most people will find it endearingly human and take to you kindly for simply saying it. They know that what you’re doing takes guts, and they’re happy that they’re not in your shoes!

If some people believe that you’re insecure because you don’t know your stuff, you’ll soon prove them wrong. Once you’ve learned how to control nerves and take command of the stage with confidence and a strong presence, you will always be able to put your message across with unmistakable conviction.

To Your Courageous Speaking Joy and Success!


The above contains excerpts taken from from the #1 bestseller, Your Voice Is Your calling Card by Suzann Rye. Get your copy here:

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