I’ve been given plenty of bad advice about public speaking over the years.
In classrooms, workshops, Toastmasters meetings and from coaches, I’ve learned tips about public speaking that sounded reasonable at the time. But they were wrong.
The Five Worst Public Speaking Tips
Bad Tip #1: Imagine your audience in their underwear.
Doing so is supposed to build your confidence.
The reasoning behind this tip (such as it is) goes something like this: If you see people stripped of all dignity, you won’t be intimidated by them.
There are two problems with this approach. First, it demeans your audience, when you should respect and call out their best. And second, it assumes that you can only feel good about yourself when you think less of others.
Here’s what I suggest instead.
Identify with your audience members. See them as you see yourself–imperfect, but good willed, trying your best in a difficult situation, seeking a way to live a better life (if only in a small way).
Speak to them as you would to a friend.