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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Darren-I related to your remarks regarding the difficulty receiving praise. It’s easy to give support, but when it’s headed my way, I will say thanks, but I kind of shine it on in terms of actually letting it in.
So true man. This is hard to do; which is weird considering how hard we work for it. It definately takes the “D” word (self-discipline – http://www.takethestairstour.com 🙂
The most powerful insight for me from your article is that you don’t have to feel arrogant about standing there and receiving praise because it’s not about you; it’s about THEM!
It’s always about the audience. Thank you for always teaching, promoting and reminding us of that Darren.
See you in the stairwell,
Nice! Really great topic! I just received an email from a girl and her family which I sponsored/financially&emotionally many years ago. I had lost track of them for 25 years and she is now 37 and found me on the net. She send a long letter about how I changed their lives and how successful they all are today. I am sitting here in tears for the last hour working on taking it in that I made a difference in their life…to me it seem like a small thing to do at the time(supporting them) but now I see the impact…it is a lot to take in….
Wow. So true. I was just thinking about this over the weekend, and then I read your email today. Many of us were raised not to be prideful, and trying to be humble we shy away from the applause. I put a lot of work into the speeches I give, and the audience is simply acknowledging that to encourage me. There is a healthy place between the extremes of humility and pride where we can stand to enjoy our accomplishments. Thanks Darren.
I will take the applause!
When training people to accept applause, one thing to remember is the cultural reaction to joining that applause. In Toastmasters I sometimes see people who themselves clap when other people are applauding them. I’ve seen it so often that I assume it is acceptable in the U.S. In some other countries it would be seen as hugely egotistical and therefore not acceptable.
Never quite thought of it the way you statedd itbut it does make sense. When finishing a speech before our peers within our TM club, we should stand in in front of them long enough to RECEIVE their appluse after we have finished our speech by saying, Mr. Toastmaster to return control of the meeting to the TM in charge of making introductions.