Public speaking is both, a performance art and not a performance art. What does that mean? If you go to a big international convention in Las Vegas and the conference organizers have brought in a famous motivational speaker, he is going to give you a type of performance art- a speech which he has probably given thousands of times before. They have crafted every second of it, they know exactly where they want to pause and how many steps forward they want to be, they know their stage left and stage right. It is a finely honed piece of performance art and quite often, it works. People are moved to tears as they give a standing ovation.

But when it comes to political candidates, businessmen, and civic leaders, it is not a performance anymore. As any of the positions mentioned above, you are there to actually communicate with your audience whether they are voters, investors, or employees. In such a case, my recommendation is this: do not think of this as a performance piece of art, instead think of it as just talking. If i talk one on one with most of the people i know, they seem interesting, engaging, understandable, and full of animation. Their voice and body comes to life. But when they are placed in front of a larger audience, they stiffen and tense up.

So my advice to you is that you have to get rid of the mentality of thinking that speaking is a performance art. You must instead think of it as not performing and having a conversation with your audience in the room. Do that, and you’ll have much better public speaking and presentation skills.

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