Remember that time you gave a speech and was told to picture your classmates in their underwear to combat nervousness? ME TOO!
I’ve always wondered why a teacher would encourage such a thing as it creates an incredibly awkward image in your head. Why picture your classmates in their underwear? Who wants to do that? I don’t know about you, but picturing my friends in their underwear is more distracting than helpful. I definitely wouldn’t be able to focus on delivering a successful speech.
It wasn’t under later in life that I understood the idea behind picturing your classmates in their underwear. The idea of an imaginary underwear-wearing audience is a wayward attempt to address the vulnerability of the speaker. People feel vulnerable when they speak in public. People feel vulnerable when they feel “naked” in public (except for nudist, of course). So, what happens when the two are mixed?
Well, if a speaker can imagine an audience in their underwear, then they could see the audience in their most vulnerable state. This, in turn, could help make the speaker feel less vulnerable. However… THIS THEORY DOESN’T WORK.
But, I have good news. You don’t have to feel vulnerable to be a good speaker. BAM! All people are vulnerable. We all worry about the same things… and we all are much more alike than we could ever be different. So, there is no need to make an imaginary grasp at anyone’s “nakedness.: We all wear our human vulnerabilities for full public view.
So, if you don’t have to feel vulnerable to be a good speaker, then how do you become a good speaker? Join me for one of my upcoming workshops where I provide hands-on training to help you develop your own one-on-one TED-talk style. Or, subscribe to my blog or follow me on social media for weekly public speaking tips that don’t include you picturing your colleagues in their underwear. That’s just weird.