This amazed me.
Recently, I attended a Train-the-Trainer Boot Camp to learn some new ideas for teaching others. We did an amazing exercise where attendees were required to be creative on stage, and then stand there to accept the applause from the audience.
Many of the participants had little or no stage time, and pushed themselves way outside their comfort zones. I was so impressed! It brought me back to my early days of stand-up comedy — when I would use all of my self-discipline to battle every fiber of my body trying to get me to chicken out, while the little voice inside my head screamed, “What are you doing?!”
After the exercise each person was required to step forward on the stage and “accept” the applause! Some of them were so moved and transformed, they cried. They had never been edified like that before — especially in front of 200 people!
For most of us, it’s easy to applaud others. If you’re a Toastmaster, you know that we’re simply trained to do it for others. I don’t remember, however, ever being trained to accept the applause.
You may be secretly worried about looking egotistical by standing there too long. The audience wants to applaud you, they are appreciating what you did and prepared for them. Does that make sense?
Ever tried to give someone a gift… and they refused it? How did that make you feel? Yuk. You really wanted to help — and to be rejected for a good deed… that just stinks! This is a life lesson we all probably need to learn.
I love to give. But, it is receiving gifts that I’m not great at.
It actually IS the same thing. If you feel the need to say “thank you” at the end of your speech, say it DURING the applause. Say it as sincere “thank you” for the applause. Don’t say it as your last words.
Next time you see a speaker end their presentation, watch their body language as the applause comes. Are they trying to run away, or do they accept the applause? The audience sees your body language, and if you “served them” and gave them a new perspective on your subject, they want to applaud you. Let them do that, for as long as they wish. It is not about you.
Next time, will you take it?
2001 World Champion of Public Speaking
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