There’s something about speaking in public and doing presentations that has always fascinated me ever since college. I remember how I used to get excited once I hear there’s a project presentation that we have to do. And the more people attending, the more excited I get! This has always puzzled me given the fact that I’m a shy, quite, almost introverted type of person. I was never able to figure out the connection between these two contradicting qualities, but lately I’m beginning to notice something after doing a presentation that just might be the answer.
I consider myself a rare breed in this sense. Not many people love to give out public speeches, and certainly a whole lot of them dread it. Seinfeld has a famous quote that goes like this:
According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.
While I could not find a particular study that proved this fact, I can understand why someone would have such fear of public speaking. There are many reasons to that, including:
On the other hand, I believe there is only one reason why people, like me, would love to do public speeches. Are you ready? Here it is: egotistical recognition!
OK, I’ll admit that I have no basis for this theory at the moment, but the more I think of it, the more it makes sense to me. To start off, note that I’m not talking here about the ultimate reason of giving a public speech, presentation, key note, or even a training session. Each one of those activities has one or more practical objectives that the speaker would like to achieve by the end of his speech. But if we strip the speaker of those objectives, what reasons are left for him to actually want to do the purposeless presentation? Turns out, there are quite a few:
All three of those reasons lead to increasing our own or people’s positive perception of us, which in turn feeds our demanding ego. Now, if I apply those in my case, I’ll get the answer I’m looking for. Here is my reasoning:
See, easy isn’t? Now, if we put back the speech objectives that we stripped the speaker from, we come out with a quite an obvious conclusion, which is my point in this post:
All public speeches inevitably deliver a form of ego-boost for the speaker, whether that’s the speaker’s intention or not.