Being A Showman When Speaking

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When a speaker, by doing speech drills and having faced numerous audiences, has learned to control stage fright he speaks at a level of self-confidence and joy that a frightened speaker cannot reach.

We know that confidence builds confidence. This is true in various situations. And lack of self-confidence in a speaker or a persuader of any type will incite lack of that quality in a listener or a customer.

For instance, how much confidence would you have in a barber if he was nervous as he approached you with,a razor? Or what impression would a novice salesman make if he became red in the face and groped for words as he tried to sell? Will an entertainer be successful when stage fright controls him? Can a speaker who permits fear to prevent him from “putting his talk over” persuade listeners?

No. A clumsy, nervous, awkward method of. handling a situation is sometimes said to be poor showmanship. On the other hand, a good “showman” is said to be one who presents

his ideas and demonstrations smoothly and with such self-assur­ance that observers feel they are watching a master perform.

Inasmuch as “showmanship” is often associated with the stage some people erroneously believe that the term implies only trickery, illusion, or deceit. It really means, however, “The pro­cess of exhibiting things or ideas to advantage … to brighten . . . to make attractive.” A speaker who is an able showman “puts his talk over.” He “sells” it to an audience, not by trickery or decep­tion but with forthright honesty, a mountain of self-confidence, adequate knowledge, and a smooth, natural manner of presenta­tion which leaves no doubt in listeners’ minds that the speaker is in complete control of every situation.

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