Can Anxiety Be a Compliment to Your Audience?

“Appearing nervous is fine. It conveys to the audience that you care about how well you perform in front of them; that they matter.”

Those are the words of Bill Lane, former speechwriter for GE CEO Jack Welch.  Lane has written a new book entitled “Jacked Up: The Inside Story of How Jack Welch Talked GE Into Becoming the World’s Greatest Company.”

I’m not far into the book. But he has already delivered some nice insights about speaking. I’ve never really thought about the idea that being nervous can actually be a compliment to your audience. But it seems right.

People will forgive nervousness. As Lane says, it shows that you care. But make sure that you also show you care about rehearsing like crazy.  If you’re nervous and deliver a totally unfocused, poorly prepared message, your audience won’t be very forgiving.


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