Getting Over Yourself

June 10, 2012

Do people really care what you look like?


The right answers to that question make you a better speaker.

Of course, our frame of reference is “us.” If we notice people at all it’s like this: I look better than you; I don’t look as good. I’m older; I’m younger. My suit is better; my suit is worse. At least my hair looks better than that; I wish my hair looked that good. We notice what most concerns us about ourselves. All this can happen in a millisecond as we pass people on the street.
It can happen when you’re standing in front of an audience, too. but the frame of reference is always “me” for the speaker and for the audience.

Indeed, people may notice you. But why not let them forget it after they’ve noticed? Yes, she’s tall. Yes, he’s older than the rest of us. Yes, that tie clashes with his shirt. Yes, she has bushy hair. They’re just glad it’s not them. They may notice, but they’ll notice and move on—if you let them.

If you worry about how they’ll react or what they’re thinking, you’ll suffer the consequences. that’s why the goal is to be invisible. Realize it’s human nature to notice; it’s your job to realize that’s how things work, and to move on. Connect with the audience, allow them not to be distracted, get them to focus on your message.

As the audience, we focus where you focus. It’s inevitable (short of a disaster or a huge bandage on your head—in which case deal with that distraction until they’re ready to move on).

We don’t want to be left out. We’re curious. If you’re interested, we’re interested. Our frame of reference is still us. Now, however, we’re focused on applying your information to our lives. It’s our goal. Make it yours. You’ll be invisible and successful.

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