Before Acting on Assumptions–Check Them

Life as a graduate student at Ohio University would have been demanding enough my first year without that inconsiderate neighbor in the building behind me. Every night while my wife and two small children were trying to get to sleep, this guy took his dog “Deal” out for an evening walk.

For ten minutes or so, that pet owner would call his unleashed dog by name dozens of times, with his loud voice echoing between those two brick buildings, shattering the silence my family needed for sleep.

I BECAME AGGRESSIVE
After several weeks of tolerating his annoying and thoughtless behavior, I decided to confront the night walker. I did that one evening when he entered our apartment building, with his dog close by. Without introducing myself or using a courteous tone, I blurted out:
“Look, buddy, I’m fed up with you and that dog of yours. Every night when you take him out for a walk and yell ‘Deal, Deal’ every few seconds, not only do you keep my family awake, you upset us so much we can’t calm down when you take your mutt Deal back inside. Enough is enough. Get the message?”

He looked startled. I understood why when he answered, “Hey, man, you’re complaining to the wrong guy. This is my first time here. I’m just visiting a friend on second floor in that other building.”

Of course, my tone changed. I apologized. Even this long afterward, I remember blushing, too.

APPLYING THE LESSON I LEARNED
As I recall that embarrassing blunder today, I know I’d like to have a couple of minutes to talk with the prominent individuals who create national and even international news daily by making statements based on assumptions—assumptions not supported by facts. Yet because I won’t have an opportunity to challenge their baseless statements, renowned public figures will just keep saying they “misspoke,” “misremembered,” or had their remarks “taken out of context.”

Oh, you’ll notice I haven’t named any of the culprits. My guess is you have identified at least a dozen of them already.

Reduce Fear–Hold a Conversation With Your Audience

Do you wish you had more confidence when you faced an audience? Then read the advice I gave to a member of my audience.

QUESTION FROM AN AUDIENCE MEMBER
When I ended my hour-long seminar about the best language to use with customers, I asked the participants “Anybody have any questions?”

Without hesitation, one person spoke up. “Nobody would call me shy,” she said, “at least not in a one-on-one conversation. But when it comes to giving a speech, it’s impossible for me to face a group with any confidence at all. Can you offer just one quick tip that will help me overcome my fear of public speaking?”

MY ANSWER ABOUT STAGE FRIGHT CONTROL

I answered: “My best advice is to have a conversation with your audience. You’re comfortable talking with one person. That same down-to-earth, easygoing, poised attitude and approach will work whether you are sharing your thoughts with one listener or one hundred or one thousand.” Next, I told her briefly about a famous speech coach who had worked with nationally recognized leaders in politics, television, sports, and business. The most successful ones, he observed, never changed their mode of presentation. They took their low-key person-to-person style into radio and TV studios, press conferences, and speeches to huge audiences.

I’LL SAY THE SAME THING NEXT TIME
I’m sure that somebody who attends my events will ask the same question again. I’ll give the same answer. Engage your audience in lively conversation, and you will greatly reduce your anxiety about giving speeches.

STAGE FRIGHT BOOK OFFERS 25 TIPS
FOR CONTROLLING YOUR ANXIETY

My book–25 Ways to Control Your Stage Fright…And Become a Highly Confident Speaker–will give you other valuable tips and strategies for controlling your stage fright. You can order this brief guide book in paperback or Kindle. Use this link:

http://tinyurl.com/juqc5kb

CALL ME TO DISCUSS YOUR COMMUNICATION PROBLEMS!
First, review my Web site to review the range of services I offer to corporations and to individual leaders:

http://www.bizcommunicationguy.com

Then call me today, to talk about your communication problems. We’ll discuss how I can help you solve them!

Call 678-316-4300