I enjoy public speaking. Over the years I’ve gotten pretty good at it. To do that I’ve had to give a lot of talks. When I was a young man public speaking was a major obstacle for me to overcome. When my audience applauded, I felt a rush of power.
But in a few minutes the moment passed and I came back down to earth.
In Toastmasters, we regularly applaud when members speak. The purpose of the applause is immediate encouragement. It also provides fuel for more ambitious efforts.
You might think that is artificial. In the real world, it probably is. Consider this. Most people are more afraid of giving a speech than they are of dying. I’d say that applause is well earned, wouldn’t you?
There are a few things to remember about applause.
First, it’s great to get approval for a great presentation. It’s natural to cheer when you hear your favorite band do a great show. Some of the most quiet people you know will turn into raving lunatics when their favorite football team is on TV. When you see someone doing something great, let them know it!
Second, applause is like a vapor. If you’ve watched someone smoke a long cigar, take a puff then blow the smoke out, what happens after a minute? The smoke is gone. Applause feels great while it lasts, but if you want more, you’ve got to earn it.
The third thing to remember about applause is that it should not be your ultimate goal to get it. Concentrate on doing a good job in whatever you do. Do your best and be assured, someone will notice. But if you do it for the acclaim, eventually you’ll run out of steam when you don’t get it all the time.
One more thing to think about is that you’re probably not as good as you feel when the crowd is roaring. Have you ever watched the show One Hit Wonders? If you do something really great and especially hard to top, what do you do next? Many of these artists keep on creating art. You can’t predict what will be a hit and what won’t. Just be the best at what you are and you’ll have your impact where it’s needed most.