The more we know how to deal with ourselves at an emotional level, the more we know how to handle an audience. Audiences are full of feelings and emotions, so let's take them into account!
About the question of how to deal with ourselves when it comes to our emotional and irrational side, the first thing I wish to say is that I am very wary of "positive thinking"
All too often those who recommend that we "turn away from negativity and think positively" make me think of parents sending their child off to their room with the instruction to not come back before they have calmed down and managed to get a smile on their face. They are doing this to their "inner child" - to the sensitive and vulnerable part within.
When my "inner child" starts moaning, complaining or crying, I think I should listen and understand what's going on. All too often, the raw and awkward expression of so called "negative" thoughts masks a real distress. Only after acknowledging and welcoming do I point out that there are also reasons to be happy, people and events worth smiling at, and I add that the very act of smiling actually creates a good mood and helps muster courage.
So positive thinking is not wrong at all... as long as it doesn't blame and dismiss anything negative! (Blaming and dismissing are negative attitudes anyway....)
Let's come back to how to deal with audiences, in a similar way. I'll give you a simple example: I'll always remember this networking event. I was the last speaker before the break. There were no chairs in the big room. Standing up without walking for a long time is difficult, everybody felt pain in their legs!
When it was my turn to speak, the first thing I said was: "I know everyone feels tired, your legs are painful, I promise I will be short!"
I've rarely seen so many smiles lightup at the same time! Taking it from there, I suggested doing some movements, shift the weight from one foot to the other to help bear the fatigue, thanked them for their presence and
attention and complimented them on their skills (they were all much more knowledgeable than me in matter of business and technology). I added a good dollop of entertaining energy... and managed to get them to forget the pain and listen to my pitch...
The more we treat ourselves and others well, acknowledging what may be difficult and pointing out anything positive we might spot, the more we get audiences on our side!
The next Organic Speaking sessions will happen soon:
Sunday the 23rd and Sunday the 30th, from 7pm to 9.15pm (please arrive slightly in advance so that we can start on time)
in Willesden Green. More details here.
Thank you for your attention.
Have a good week and a good week end!