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Think Generously

 

Techniques Public speaking > Speaking Tips > Think Generously

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Think kindly and generously about your audience. Assume they are nice people and are happy to be there.

Nod and smile at them as if they are good friends. Listen to them and find other small ways to show you care about them.

Do not fear them. Do not assume they are judging you or that they are bored. And even if they show signs of negativity, be kind in your thoughts about why this might be.

Also, after your presentation, be generous with your time. Do not rush off. Hang around for as long as anyone wants to talk with you.

Example

I am giving a presentation to a mixed audience. I start by asking them how they are enjoying the day. I smile and nod, showing that I am happy to be there. I address individuals with gravity, taking questions seriously. I offer information that they will find useful but does not benefit me. I sell my book at a deep 'conference discount'. Later, I share a joke and answer questions.

Discussion

When you are kind to others, you invoke the exchange principle, encouraging them to be kind to you in return. In this case, it may appear through appreciative acts such as paying attention and applauding.

When showing generosity, beware of over-doing it. You should not debase yourself or appear obsequious or otherwise anxious. Grovelling puts you socially lower than them and asks them to judge you. Generosity should flatten social hierarchies, not reverse them. For example, do not smile when you are making serious points or blindly accept all criticism.

See also

Harmony principle, Exchange principle, Conversation techniques

 

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