The second thing I rely on is that I can always find at least one friendly face in every audience. In my case, they are often middle-aged women who beam up at me from a sea of people, smiling and nodding sometimes, but always exuding warmth and encouragement.
As I talk, I return to them over and over. And there they are, unfailingly radiating goodwill. I have never found an audience without at least one, even when talking to that phalanx of hostile school kids. (In that case it was their teacher. I suspect she was experiencing a large dose of fellow-feeling.)
To the men and women who smile and listen and react openly and generously when they watch yet another speaker, may I express my heartfelt gratitude.
So to the men and women who smile and listen and react openly and generously when they watch yet another speaker at the conference, wedding, funeral, 21st, work presentation or whatever, may I express my heartfelt gratitude.
Much as I love public speaking, much as I relish the challenge of converting a hostile, tired or just plain had-their-lunch-and-are-busy-digesting-it audience into an interested and engaged one, I doubt you have any idea how much your friendly face helps. You embody the literal meaning of the word encourage: you pass on courage. For that, it’s my turn to applaud you.