Daily Pill – A Beginner’s Guide to Public Speaking
The king is naked!
Welcome to the second episode of A Beginner’s Guide to Public Speaking!
When they’re stumped, kiddos ask: „Why?” Because they can’t admit they’re clueless, and in order not to lose their all-knowing aura, adults have a whole arsenal of replies aimed just to hush them up:
„Because that’s how it’s done.”, „Because I say so.”, „You’ll get it when you’re grown up.”, „You can’t get it. You’re too tiny.”
This kind of reply tells the child it’s beyond their depth, that they can’t and won’t be able to understand, and seriously undermines their confidence in their judgment. Tons of generations have been schooled to swallow this kind of argument, and now, many are easy prey for businesses with aggressive marketing tactics.
Amy Cuddy has massively shaped the concept of power posing. She suggested all the feeble-feeling folks adopt poses that mirror agressive monkey stances. People have taken up these exercises, and the posture has become second nature.
That’s exactly what you want to do when you, a fine lady, chat with your family, present a project at a corporate board meeting, or pitch a product to a client, etc.
Go on, have a laugh, but her TED talk has 68 million views.
Another gent, quite the modest type in the views department, advocates for a very pious palm position, akin to monks and priests in prayer.
Why? Because that’s his decree. This new oddity, quite the opposite of Amy Cuddy’s advice, is totally baseless. Why should I do that? „That’s the way it’s done.” and this meme is copied in millions upon millions of minds.
In his TED talk, „How to speak so that people want to listen”, Julian Treasure dishes out all sorts of advice. Some make good sense, but he can’t hit the brakes and ventures into areas he doesn’t understand and suggests a voice exercise. You can check it out. He advises a vocalization where the voice starts deep and full and ascends to a very thin pitch. Who would ever fancy such a voice? Why make your voice squeak like a neglected door hinge?
Quite the contrary, as Julian Treasure himself shows, the voice makes a bold impression when it maintains its fullness throughout its range. Why suggest an exercise that could lead to unwanted reflexes? Because they’ve overreached their area of expertise by a country mile, but their success paints the illusion they’d be right no matter what they say.
Don’t go building statues of anyone. Always ask everyone: „Why?” and keep on until you get to an answer simple and clear enough. The flavor-of-the-month authorities may be forgotten and contradicted in the future, but in the meantime, they’ve taken advantage of the gullibility of the millions who’ve liked, shared, and spread their ideas.
Some of you probably know about the „Five Whys” series. Once everything has been simplified and made clear, do a once-over to see if this ultimate „Why?” indeed serves your real interest.
In class, I say there’s a six-year-old kid, Vasilica, sitting next to me, who tugs at my sleeve every time he doesn’t get what I’m saying and begs me to put it in simpler terms he can understand. In truth, Vasilica shields me from hiding my ignorance behind highfalutin words. He’s the kid who shouted: „The Emperor’s got no clothes on!”