You know what’s awkward? In college, I almost failed public speaking. And now,  I make a living as a public speaker. In this video, I’m going to share the lesson that I learned from almost failing public speaking so that you can steal that lesson and apply it to your own conversations so that you don’t come across as awkward and ideally, you don’t feel awkward as well because nobody needs that. Let’s get into it.  

Blog Note: The following is an adapted and edited transcript of one of our daily YouTube tutorials. We know sometimes it is easier to scroll through written content which is why we are publishing here. Because of that, there may be typos or phrases that seem out of context. You’ll definitely be able to get the main idea. To get the full context, visit our YouTube channel hereAnd if you want to watch the video on this topic specifically, you can scroll down to the bottom of this post to access it as well. 

Fast forward a bit after Dr. Baku’s public speaking class that I almost failed,  I was invited to give a TedEx Talk. And in the first 30 seconds of that Ted talk and the 2 minutes preceding that ted talk, I would say I was the most nervous I’ve ever been in my entire life choicefully. There’s been other times where I felt like my life was at risk or something and I’ve been really nervous but I put myself in that position and was really really nervous. And the lesson that I learned from almost failing public speaking and on how to manage my own nerves in speaking has made me a way more comfortable, less awkward conversationalists. I think. Steven is that true? -That’s true. -Alright.

In college, I was giving a speech. And the reason I almost failed the class is I tend to talk like this with my hands. And it’s just the way  that I speak. It’s who I am. I can’t actually help it. I’m not trying to do it necessarily. But Dr. Baku thought that I needed to use my hands as batons to direct the audience’s attention. And I thought that was stupid. And I refused to put myself into this baton mode. And I didn’t do well in the class but I didn’t fail. And the lesson that I learned from the fact that a few years  after that was invited to give a TEDx talk and now make my living as a professional speaker is  if you don’t want to be an awkward, period. But if you don’t want to be an awkward in conversation, let go of any need you have to be someone that you’re not.  Right? I could have tried to do the batons but it wouldn’t have been remotely authentic. And every  second that I’m not being myself or authentic. And this applies in these videos too. When I make all  these videos for this channel to share and how to make engagement and connection easy, for me, if  I’m not being totally myself in the video, I don’t think it resonates as well. I think that we value  people who are just transparent that feel like actual human beings and don’t feel like they’re  in presentation mode giving you… Right? There’s something that creates a separation. And what  erases awkwardness is a connection. If you’re able to connect with somebody, ideally you are  being really yourself and so is the other person. 

Now, the TEDx talk that I gave that you can check out in a link up here was on this idea of taking positive social risks. And in it, I talked about  this awkward bump or this anxious bump that no matter what type of social interaction you’re in, I’m not going to say 100% but I’m comfortable saying 99.8% of conversations and interactions and  relationships at some point have at least a moment of awkwardness to cross over. And once you’ve crossed over that, it’s like a rite of passage of the relationship. And you get to move on and really connect deeply and that’s out of the way. Very few people meet each other and are just like,  “Ah, we get along so well. There’s never any…” Right? That is a fairy tale. Part of not being awkward in conversation is recognizing that that awkwardness is actually your own story and your own label. You can re-label that awkwardness  as a conversation in progress. And as soon as you do that, the conversation becomes changeable and editable. Now, for me, I told you I was the most nervous I’ve ever choicefully been a  few minutes before I gave this TEDx talk which is kind of ironic that I felt so nervous and awkward before giving a talk about stepping over this awkward or anxious bump. And my learning with that was for the first… For the minutes before and for the first 30 seconds of the talk, I was so focused on this person. I was so focused on how people saw me. Were they going to like this video,  were they going to accept and be okay with the ideas I was sharing? Were they going to disagree? Were they going to unfriend me on Facebook? Whatever. We have a desire to be liked.  I have met very few people who don’t have a desire to be liked at some level. That shows up sometimes, when we feel like we’re not being liked, that shows up as awkwardness. For me the tool to not be awkward in a conversation is to flip your perspective and let go of yourself  and what you look like and feel like, etc and focus on the other person. You will notice that  awkwardness gets deleted right away. I will say one of my mentors Erik Tyler wrote a book called  the best advice so far. And really brilliant book. And in one of… It’s the best advice so far.  

And one of the chapters is on this idea that when you call something out or when you name something, half the awkwardness leaves it right away or half the power leaves it right away. And so, if you’re worried about being awkward in conversation and the things I shared in the last couple minutes such like aren’t enough to make you feel less awkward, I would say  call it out. Call out whatever it is that you’re experiencing or whatever that’s making it awkward  because typically, not always, but typically half the awkwardness gets erased right in that moment. I happened to have put together a book with my co-author Will Wise on this entire idea of  how to have meaningful conversations. It’s called Ask Powerful Questions: Create Conversations That  Matter. And books cost money so you can get a free excerpt of it below for zero dollars or Amazon, I think still sells books along with everything else in the world.


 I’m Chad, have an awesome day.



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