Posts Tagged ‘insensitive people’

Public Speaking vs. Insensitivity

My public speaking and presentation training practice deals a lot with the fallout from insensitive people. And that’s because we often define ourselves based on the comments of insensitive people.

We all have them

We all have insensitive people in our lives, and they’re insidious. They dig into insecurities to give them life. And those insecurities can haunt us long after the insensitive person has moved on, and if you think that doesn’t affect our public speaking and presentation abilities, guess again.

It’s insecurity

So, why are some people so insensitive to other people’s feelings? I don’t have a definitive answer to that one, but in my experience it’s usually based on insecurity and the need to overcompensate for feelings of inadequacy. And when we call the offenders on their abuse the fallout can permanently damage important relationships. So we hold back, because many of these people are central to our sense of clan and community.

I see the damage

I see the damage insensitive people wreak in my public speaking and presentation training practice. I see it in the person who is bursting with passion and terrified to stand up to tell the world about it. I see it in highly capable people who have been told in innumerable ways that they are inadequate. I see it in the stress of people so deeply imbued with criticism and bullying that they are too paralyzed to even try to communicate, influence others and improve their world.

I do something about it

I try to do something about it. I encourage people to put their oppressors – and the insecurities they engender – in their proper place. I encourage them to act and think positively, regardless of what they hear, to build invisible fences between themselves and their antagonists.

It’s difficult

I’ve been bullied. I’ve been emotionally blackmailed. I continue to experience it from time to time. It’s difficult to deal with for any of us because, on many levels, we feel helpless. We’re damned if we engage our antagonists and damned if we don’t.

What to do

So here’s what I suggest we do: Instead of creating a scene, consider the source. What qualifies these people to make their comments? In my experience, the answer is “nothing at all”. So if they’re unqualified to comment, why give them credence?

Dump the garbage

The next thing to do is dump the garbage. As soon as we have the opportunity, we need to dump that crap and get on with the positive elements in our lives. And we can do that by talking to someone who understands. We can write about it, we can exercise, do yoga, meditate, play an instrument –anything that helps to cleanse our souls.

 

Avoid them

My favourite strategy is simply to avoid dealing with negative people as much as possible. It’s a big world and there are countless creative, exciting, positive people out there. So why would I want to hang out with frightened, angry individuals whose negative view of the world reduces them and everyone around them? I simply don’t do it if I can avoid it.

 

We’re terrified to speak

So what does all of this have to do with public speaking? Everything. Many of us are so accustomed to being criticized and bullied that we’re terrified to speak up. And in most cases, those perceptions have been visited upon us by others, most of whom had no idea what they were inflicting upon us.

 

You’re not what other people say

So here’s my message to you: You’re not what other people say you are. You’re a combination of what you believe you are and what you do for others. How does that relate to public speaking? Here’s how: the person who has the passion, drive and confidence to deliver something of value possesses the power to change their world for the better.

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About Thomas Moss

Thomas Moss is a speaker, writer and coach who provides business communications services, primarily in the Greater Toronto Area, including Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax, Pickering, Markham, Richmond Hill, Newmarket, Vaughan, Brampton and Mississauga. Service is also available outside of the GTA.