I get the wonderful privilege to speak into the lives of students every week. I know I am not the best communicator, but I have learned a few things from watching many great speakers. I am probably not the best person to be writing about public speaking, but I saw something the other day that really bugged me, and I hope avoid it as I speak myself.
I was at a conference, (I don’t actually remember the name of the speaker, so please don’t ask) and I was listening to a speaker, but for the first time ever I wasn’t able to really hear what he had to say. By this I mean I was so distracted and thrown off by something he was doing that I actually didn’t listen to the words coming out of his mouth. I normally don’t care how someone speaks, but listen to what exactly they say (I’m a content guy).
The guy speaking kind of looked like a nerd, and yes I’m judging a book by the cover. This didn’t bother me, as nerds usually have really good stuff to say. What bothered me about the man speaking was that he walked around in an arrogant posture. He spoke like he knew everything about his subject matter. And he acted like he was God’s gift to the world. I know this probably isn’t his heart, but it completely destroyed what he had to offer. I couldn’t get past it, and spent much time playing with my new phone.
This challenges me, because I speak every week to teenagers. I hope that I don’t do anything that can be so distracting that causes them to ignore what I have to say. I think public speakers need to watch video and listen to audio of themselves routinely to improve themselves and realize what they look like. I have never seen myself speak on video, and am going to figure that out. I have listened to myself speak a couple times and I hate it. I hate the sound of my voice, but it helps me to improve and grow. I don’t ever want to be as good at speaking as I first started, and this is a way to improve.
Have you ever been this distracted by a public speaker? What was he/she doing that caused you to ignore the words coming out of their mouth? I had a friend that one time that dressed in layers during a sermon and started to take his clothes off to keep everyone’s attention.