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Fear of Public Speaking

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I just spent a week with people who have no fear of public speaking. BUT, in my opinion, some of them SHOULD!

Last week I attended the annual convention of the National Speakers Association.Their theme was: NSA ROCKS. This sounded pretty good to me. I’m a rock and roll kind of guy. 

In an attempt to carry this theme to the nth degree, some things were lost. What was lost? Quality speakers. 

Sure, there were speakers who had all kinds of ROCK credentials. There were even those speakers who had best selling books. BUT, this is a speaking convention. Why not have some great speakers? How dare I ask such a question! What a rebel I am!

Let me tell you first about one of the speakers I enjoyed. This guy clearly has no fear of public speaking . . . OR death for that matter. Manny Pedrano is the guy’s name. I actually bumped into him in the bathroom right before he went on. I said a couple of words to him and then spoke with him at length towards the end of the conference.

Manny is a former federal prosecutor. He put away a BAD guy named Enrique Camarenas. Camarenas was responsible for the death of a D.E.A. agent. Manny was able to get 12 guys convicted and locked up for life. Great job Manny!

No one left the presentation. Everyone wanted to hear his entire story. I only wish ALL the speakers had been that good. Unfortunately, they were not.

And, I’m not alone. I watched how many people walked out before the various speakers were finished. With some of the folks, it was a LARGE number. Larger than many events I’ve attended put on by this organization.

The problem with trying to stick doggedly to a theme is that you can’t always find great speakers who ALSO have a rock and roll connection. The result? Speakers with plenty of rock and roll credentials but not many speaking credentials.

Fear of public speaking? For me there was fear of public speakers. Bad ones. I actually felt uncomfortable for a number of the people who spoke. Not good.

My suggestion? Next time you get a chance to promote an event yourself, don’t try and shoehorn people into your theme. If you have to drift away from your theme then make sure you err on the side of TALENT in the speaking arena.

Another highlight for me was Tim Ferris, the author of “The Four Hour Workweek.” I enjoyed his irreverent style and ALL of his content. This speaker made the event worthwhile for me. 

In a sea of mediocrity, this guy shined!

Want to learn how to speak like a pro? Check out The Speaking School!

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