Are they all talking about me?

As children, we perceive that the world revolves around us. As teenagers, we worry that the world is against us. As adults, it is difficult to shake off these formative ideas.

If you are in a train with people speaking a foreign language, do you assume that at least some of them are talking about you? Most of us do. Once we learn the language, we learn that people talk about everyday matters. In Hong Kong this is; what to eat, what has been eaten and what should be eaten!

When it comes to public speaking, a common fear people mention is that they feel that the audience is staring at them, willing them to fail or waiting for them to say something foolish. Accurate? Next time you are in a meeting or listening to a speaker, pause and analyse your thoughts. I am willing to take a wild guess that only 30% of your attention is dedicated to the speaker. The rest will be on your everyday concerns or plans you want to get on with as soon as the meeting has finished.

Your challenge as a speaker is the opposite of this common fear. We are all easily distracted, we aren't interested in having to listen to and think about subjects outside our immediate interests, how do you get us to focus to you?

Guess what the next topic is going to be...

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