Public Speaking is not about you, it’s about your audience. A lot of hang ups we have about public speaking revolve around the attention we place on ourselves during or in preparation for a speech.
It should be a big relief to know that people don’t care about you nearly as much as they care about themselves. That’s why it’s important to shift your attention from the typical self-centered thoughts to how you can help your audience. Remember the saying that, “It’s better to give than to receive.” The concept of generosity certainly applies to speech.
That said, there are two major benefits to shifting your focus from you to the audience:
1. Anxiety Reduction
It’s very stressful, worrying too much about how good your speech will be. We naturally tend think about how smart we will sound, how good we will look, will they notice nerves etc. But instead of focusing on how much the speech matters to you, consider what your audience might have to gain from your speech? You may find this shift in perception relieves a lot of pressure! This mindset is also vital to giving a successful speech.
2. A Better Speech
Make your speech more interesting to audience members. Your speech should offer something valuable to the audience. If you are giving a talk that is solely about you, why should anyone else care about what you’re saying? I'm sure we can all recall a time when someone droned on about themselves and it felt like torture having to sit and listen.
You should be addressing themes that directly relate to other people. Why should the audience care about this message? What’s in it for them? Your speech must provide something of value to your audience. Without this, you will not keep their attention and they will not care as much about whatever it is you’re saying.
So keep your speech audience-centered. Make it about them, and not you. Even if the speech is a personal story all about you! Yes, you must find a way to make that kind of speech relatable to audience members and provide some moral that people can away take from your story.
Remember to avoid selfishness by considering how the speech can help your audience, rather than how it might advance your personal goals. This kind of mental judo should lessen your stress levels. It should also make your speech far better. It’s a win-win scenario, so why not give it a try?