How NOT to Make a Fool of Yourself when Speaking in Public

When Overconfidence meets Arrogance…

Thanks to one of Olivia Mitchell's tweets a few weeks ago, I read a provocative article in The Financial Times, by sarcastic  Lucy Kellaway.

Every Monday in The Financial Times, Lucy Kellaway makes fun of  management fads and jargon, describing with irony the office life in her management column.

This time it was called:

"How to land on your feet when speaking in public"

This is what I mean by sarcastic: "While nearly all men are poor at public speaking, women are even worse.
This is partly because women cannot tell jokes, but also because we are
better at self-awareness and therefore know that our speech is average
and the audience would rather be doing something else – thoughts that
do little to enhance performance."

I'm absolutely not sure about "women cannot tell jokes" and Lucy Kellaway certainly makes me laugh,but the reality is that a majority of women are still lacking self confidence.

  • Women might then spend more time seeking for advice,reading self-help books( and eBooks) getting prepared, participating to training courses, getting personal coaching. In consequence, in the next years, women should improve dramatically their communication skills!
  • They will also be less likely to make a real fool of themselves, because "more self-aware"

I thought it would make perfect sense then to bring an illustration to this point.

One of my favorites British TV series is The Office.It represents for me the animated version of Dilbert Cartoon...I have often found myself in situations very similar at work, during seminars, endless meetings, meaningless trainings where I wish I had someone like Ricky Gervais to laugh with me at the absurdity of the Office Life. When I watch The office, when I read Dilbert or when I read Lucy Kellaway's column, I smile and I feel less lonely.

Ricky Gervais plays David Brent, a pathetic self-centered office manager who pretends to know it all.

In this short episode, David Brent is pretending to give a motivational speech…

What you don't want to happen to you is this :

  • Getting caught unprepared 
  • Growing from confident to arrogant
  • Telling bad jokes
  • Reading platitudes and inspirational quotes aloud
  • Worse: ignoring your audience and your colleagues

Look at the audience 's faces, they express interrogation, growing from bewilderment to agony.

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