Public Speaking vs. ‘talking while standing up’

Here are two pivotal thoughts that helped me drill thru the rock of my own {fear driven} inertia …

There is a huge difference between being a professional ‘Public Speaker’ and just, well, talking while stood up!

‘Public Speaking’ is a chosen career, an actual profession, a self contained vocation in and of itself

Public Speakers seek to be be ‘booked’ (they get paid for speaking) they are pros, and are trained (by the likes of Toastmasters) to talk about … anything!

Topics are GIVEN to you at toast masters, so people who want to persue that career path learn to think on their feet & ‘wax eloquent’ about anything at the drop of a hat

Professional Public Speaking is all about presentation, practice, cadence, pacing, stage prescence, hand gestures, projection etc etc

Then there are people (like me) who just ‘talk while stood up’

We know we have valuable specialised info to pass on, expertise, authority & chops in a narrow lane about a specific topic or product

I get my edumificational content ‘out there’ in different ways (writing, videos etc) … and another just happens to occasionally be …


Talking to more people than can sit around a single table, sooo I have to stand up

Different from ‘Public Speakers’, I don’t care about presentation, cadence, pacing, hand gestures, stage presence, where my bloody feet are & all that shnizzle

I care more about getting my ideas across to people who specifically want to know what I know about ‘something’ …

… and on occasion, I find talking the best way to get that info out from my brain & into the brain of the folks still sat down

I essentially don’t care about being judged because I understand that …


People who simply ‘talk to a group who know them’ understand at a gut level that It’s Not About Them, it’s about how well the people they are helping to understand something ‘get it’

Worrying about being judged, about how you’ll come across, about if people will laugh if (when) you make a mistake (or not laugh when you tell a joke) or even if they’ll like you is pointless, because … it’s not about you

Also, worrying about where your arms & feet are, your cadence, your phrasing, your stage craft & ‘pauses’ is ultimately quite selfish because …

it’s not about you!

(Have you got that yet?)

It’s not about your ‘performance’ – it’s ALL about getting those neat, elegant, new ideas out of your noggin, out of your gob, through the air, into the lug-oils & into the noggins of those ‘still sat down’ who are probably mighty interested

Tip #1: Just because you are ‘up front & centre’ doesn’t mean you can’t sit down. Sitting down helps a lot.

Tip #2: Only politicians truly speak in PUBLIC. Folks like us are almost always just yakking with a warm audience of friends, collegues or clients / customers … or at minimum have a common interest in sharing ideas

Here are my take aways …


I’m just the vessel, the ‘conduit’ by which some interesting shit gets into other peoples brains. I could have written the content, or made a video of it, but as it happens, I’m just talking about it this time around

2) The ONLY reason I’m stood up front is to be seen & heard better

I’m not getting paid to ‘perform’ so I don’t give a shit about making mistakes, I only care about ‘do they get it, my point, the idea, what I’m on about?’

3) In truth, people are not listening to your words. No one is hanging on your every word – not even the most attentive person in the group. Cognitively speaking, people dont listen at word level. We listen at THOUGHT level, more specifically, at personal thought level.

If (as is desireable) a few people have ideas while listening to you, those ideas will be about THEM … that “something you said” triggered. The idea string they had, about them, is more consuming & important to them than whatever it was you said that triggered their idea

In case you didn’t notice, it’s 2019 (at time of writing)

Look at the explosion of unshaven, scruffy goofball experts in snapback baseball caps & sports shirts making off-the-cuff selfie-stick videos about their knowledge & passions (while wandering around a field, or their kitchen)

The days when someone who knows more than their tribe had to be polished & eloquent & perfect & mistake-free are GONE my friends

These are the days of ‘Facebook Live’ where audiences expect to see humanity in their leaders, not perfection

People these days do not trust thought leaders who are slick, polished, practiced & fault-free

They now WANT that just like me vibe, even from luminaries

One ‘secret’ to writing copy is ‘write like you talk’ ~ and I think a secret to ‘talking while you’re stood up’ is just …

….. talk like you talk sat down but a bit louder

(Please comment below if this has helped you and/or made you think)

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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One thought on “Public Speaking vs. ‘talking while standing up’

  1. Several tips/techniques I have found useful:

    (a) When about to deliver yourself of a joke, always say “To use the old joke…” If it is indeed old and hackneyed, you’ll get some bonus points for self-deprecation. If it isn’t, nobody will dare to own up that they’ve never heard of it.

    (b) If you are heckled, always say “I’m sorry, I didn’t understand that – could you repeat that please?” A heckle is always a shouted message, and having to repeat it in a conversational tone makes the heckler look very foolish. And it gives you time to think up a trenchant reply!

    (c) Never say “I’m not used to doing this” – that is a hackneyed self-deprecation too far

    Oratorically yours

    Walter C