In the post You Better Get Ready! I discussed how important it is to be prepared for whatever speaking you are going to do. Doesn’t matter if it’s to 10,000 or to a team of five. When you’re prepared, you have absolutely no reason to be nervous. Also, it allows you to think freely in case something comes up that needs to be injected.
With that post came a great comment from Edwin:
“Chris, do you get excited and feed off of other people’s energy when you look out into the audience and see that one person who ‘gets it’ (I’m sure there is more than one, but who can look at two people at the same time?)? Does this excitement really pump you up and take you to the next level of excitement? Maybe another blog post… ‘Energy – it’s all around us.’”
The truth is, yes! There is nothing like being on stage and seeing that person who is loving what you’re saying! There are certain people who make you just want to talk to them by the way they respond. I actually have some of those people still in mind from talks I did a long time ago. That’s how much of an impact someone can have on a speaker.
The flipside of this is the person who gives you no energy. Some people will even drain it right out of you. That’s when a less-experienced speaker will start changing his whole presentation just to get the crowd on his side. That’s when mistakes are made. The presentation becomes less of what it was meant to be as you try new stuff on the fly in an attempt to get energy.
In 2000, I started Pastor Luncheons where we traveled around the country before our live events to share with pastors about the event that was coming to their cities so they could get their churches on board. And for the first six months it was a hit! Pastors were engaging me, laughing, applauding, etc. Until we got to Knoxville. Now, I spoke for 40 minutes, but it was the longest 40 minutes ever!
As I spoke, I got nuthin’ from the crowd! It was like pullin’ teeth! When I was done I thought, We’re so not getting anything from this group. They hated it. About that time, the first pastor approached me, shook my hand and said, “Thank you so much! That was exactly what we needed!” Then one after another, they came up and told me the same thing. I was like, “WHERE WERE YOU?!” It turned out to be one of our more successful luncheons.
That day, I made the decision to never pull my energy from the crowd. No matter what, I have to go prepared with what I’m going to say, and I need to leave everything right there on the stage. If I truly believe God wanted me to deliver that particular speech, then I can’t worry about how people are reacting. And when I bring my own energy, it makes it that much sweeter when I see those who “get it.”
Since then, I’ve also had people who have gone out of their way to let me know they don’t like what I’m saying. In my earlier days, I would have changed everything just to reach that one person. Now, I could care less. There’s a room full of people who are getting their lives changed. If you don’t like that, stay the same. Let me know later how that’s workin’ for ya. :-)
What’s your answer to Edwin’s question? Have you experienced this too?