Narcissism: Cut it Out to be the Centre of Attention

by on November 5, 2009
in Essay, Instruction

Narcissism drains the energy of your audience.

Narcissism drains the energy of your audience.

As speakers, we all have an element of narcissism in our presentations. We are there at the front of the room, the focus of attention, controlling the show, getting everything to go our own way. The paradox of public speaking is that while it seems to be a self-serving activity, it’s not. Narcissism is the worst attribute a speaker can display.

It’s a sticky trap, but narcissism in public speaking is a deadly method of losing an audience. It’s about energy. We give and receive energy all the time. But when a narcissist takes the stage, they simply take energy. All of it. They hijack the conversation, turning every story into something about them. Listening to a narcissist speak is like standing near a black hole, watching your energy drain into it, never to return.

An audience comes to receive. It might be knowledge, entertainment, or inspiration, but they want to receive something from the speaker. If you are a speaker who avoids the sticky web of narcissism, you must give energy instead of taking it. Your speech will be all about the audience. Their life, their situation, the fulfilment of their wants and needs. You’ll avoid the word I and instead use you, or we.

If you finish your speech and you’re drained of energy, then you’ve given your audience the energy it craved. If you finish your speech and the people in the audience are sitting on their chairs like discarded rubber glovers, then you might want to re-evaluate your style of speaking.

The best way to hold someone’s attention is to give them energy, to talk about them and their interests. Cut out the me, me, me attitude and become passionate about your audience. If you do, you’ll stay the centre of attention.

Ben Wilson wrote this post from his small room in his small house near the ocean. If you enjoyed this, you might like to sign up for his free communication tips. The newsletter also has less talking in third person.
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