Public Speaking Reminder – It’s What You Teach People That Matters

Earlier this week, I shared a TedTalk video from YouTube about stalkerware. If you clicked over and watch it on the actual YouTube page, you may have noticed a number of comments about how nervous Eva seemed giving it, or if you watched it you may nave even thought that she didn’t appear to be the slick, smooth-talking speaker that we may have grown accustomed to from TedTalks. You’d be right. I noticed it too. Her voice did waver a bit, she did pause with “umm” every once in awhile. She seemed slightly overwhelmed at being in front of that audience.

But she did it anyway, and her message was given a standing ovation and now has over 75,000 views. Why? Because what she was saying, the information she was sharing, is important. I learned something by watching that video. I learned something I was moved enough to try and pass on to others through my blog.

When we are doing any kind of public speaking, we often focus inward, looking only at our presentation. Did we get nervous? Did it show? Did we fumble a few words here and there, etc.? The list of criticisms is endless. But in the end, what matters much, much more is not our performance, it is what the audience takes away.

The people who have seen this presentation and really listened to what Eva was saying, walked away with an understanding of a problem, and a desire to do something to fix it. That, my friends, is effective public speaking.

As a trainer, obviously I wanted to keep improving my performance, to get better at training, but I still fumbled some words, didn’t know the answer to a question, etc. What was actually important though, was whether or not the students came away with a better ability to use our tools to do their work. If so, that’s success. I could give an absolute flawless delivery, but if I didn’t teach you anything, it was a waste of your time. I failed.

So, if you have something important to say, sure, do what you can to prevent a really uncomfortable performance from getting in the way of your message (practice, read up on some public speaking skills like body language, etc.), but don’t get so lost in making that perfect that you never get that important message out there.

Even imperfectly delivered messages can move the world.

Also, if you watched the video and the only takeaway you had was that Eva seemed nervous, consider the possibility that you are just a callous human being since you missed the point.

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