As speakers, we are often concerned with appearing perfect and flawless to our audiences. While we're focusing on ourselves and trying so hard to come across as witty, clever, brilliant and smooth, our egos are getting in the way of serving the audience.
Take a look at Lance Armstrong, 7-time winner of the Tour de France. How hard do you think it must be to take a back seat to a fellow rider? Whereas Lance is used to riding for the win, having his entire team support him, he just finished the Tour of California in the role of a domestique, a helper to teammate and Tour winner Levi Leipheimer.
For a competitive professional athlete who's used to being the star, it's hard to take a back seat to anyone. But an athlete in a team sport also realizes that there's a whole team working together, no matter who the star is.
As a speaker, you may feel like the star, but you are part of a team that includes your audience. Without an audience, there is no speaker. Without a speaker, there is no audience.
To be the most effective speaker and create a win-win situation where you get what you want (the audience to move on your call to action) and the audience gets what they want (relevant, useful, practical information), you must set your ego aside.
Play for the team, not just for yourself. That way, everybody wins.