How to Present Bad News

Why the Myth of speaking to a Naked Audience is so wrong!

One of the greatest public speaking myths perpetuated is to imagine your audience naked – this will help reduce any nervousness you might have as a speaker. What a load of malarkey!! Why anyone would want to believe that this would help them prepare and deliver a great presentation is beyond me.

Let’s look at some facts…

Your audience is not your enemy. They are your biggest supporters. When you stand in front of them to deliver your presentation they are giving you their time and attention. In doing so they want you to use that time as best you can – and in terms of the delivery of your presentation they hope and expect that you will deliver a “good show”. In other words, they want you to share your presentation without any stumbles and without “losing your way”.

When a speaker stables and gets lost with their presentation it creates an uncomfortable setting for the audience members. They don’t enjoy watch a speaker struggle (unless the speaker is a politician!). Don’t believe me – when you are an audience member do you want to see the speaker “bomb” or do you want to see them deliver a good presentation?

As a speaker your audience wants you to succeed!

When you are focussing on imagining your audience undressed you are investing your energy into the wrong areas. Your energy as a speaker should be directed to your message, what you are saying, and ultimately towards your audience, are they understanding fully what I’m delivering to them. If you are not focussing on one of these your effectiveness delivering your pitch is almost zero. Your audience knows intuitively where your attention is directed. At home our wives or husbands know when we are focussed on them (or if our minds are focussed elsewhere). Audiences are no different – they instinctively know where your focus is directed and will respond to your presentation accordingly.

If you focus on the right things the audience will reward you with respect and patience.

For a level one speaker its natural to gravitate towards silver bullet solutions (check out my three levels of speaker article to see where you are at (and more importantly where you need to be to achieve presence and influence)). In most instances quick fixes are rarely effective – and the quick fix of imagining your audience undressed is no different. However, if you remember that you audience wants you to succeed and if you focus on the right things your audience will reward you.

About The Author

Mark Kyte

Mark Kyte is a public speaking mentor and founder of the Public Speaking Skills Academy. Mark loves helping clients achieve dynamic results that help them increase their influence and get more clients. Read more of his blog and if you like what you see check out the mentoring programs.