June 29, 2011

How speaking is like a dinner party



"Entertaining is about creating suitable and inviting occasions. It's about bringing people together. This requires the right mix, a group who can enjoy one another's company. But most of all -- and here's what we can lose sight of -- it is about the guests and not about you. It is about giving and not receiving.

I know a lot of people panic or obsess over looking and doing their best. We can all become insecure about hosting and sometimes have the feeling that people are coming to judge us. But that's nonsense. Most of them will have made up their minds about you well before they ever show up; if they've accepted your invitation, that already says a lot. Besides, even reluctant accepters still want to have a good time. Nobody shows up determined not to. Really, you've got them from hello.

So relax. You are who you are. Your home is what it is. Entertaining can be a lot of fun. Just remember to be yourself." ~ Mireille Guiliano, French Women for All Seasons

Substitute "speaking" for "hosting" and "entertaining" and Mireille has just described the fears and insecurities of every speaker, but also the possibilities. In fact, speaking and hosting guests are very similar:

1. You want your guests/audience to enjoy themselves.

2. You want to connect with your guests/audience as individuals.

3. You want your guests/audience to feel cared for.

4. You want to give your guests/audience a memorable experience

5. You want your guests/audience to feel nourished and satisfied.

6. The more you prepare in advance, the fewer mishaps occur.

The main difference between the two is that you probably shouldn't have a cocktail while waiting for your audience to arrive...

Think of your audience as your guests. Ask yourself how you can take care of their needs and comfort to the best of your ability. Give them an experience they'll remember forever. And always plan your presentation so your audience leaves feeling satisfied but wanting more!

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