Could you repeat that

When a presentation is delivered to a large group, important information can get lost.

The information often needs to be reworded and repeated for the group to understand it. This could be resolved by any one of them asking the presenter to repeat their point. However, given that the group is large, it is awkward to admit one’s ignorance. The bigger the group, the larger is the probability of information getting lost. But the bigger the group, the more hesitant people are to ask a ‘stupid’ question.

It take courage and generosity to interrupt a presentation. If we haven’t understood something, we are often not alone, and we are doing everybody else a service.

Hiding in a group

As a child, I have sung in public several times as part of a group, and never faced a problem.

And then, I signed up for a solo performance. As I sat down on the stage, I noticed myself welling up with fear. Midway through my performance, my mind blanked out on the words of the song. A few seconds of awkward silence later, I apologized to the audience and left the stage with tears in my eyes.

It is much easier to sing among a group of singers. However, such group performances are never extraordinary, for there is plenty of room for mediocrity to hide. Every member of the group only needs to be better than the worst singer. And everybody in the group thinks somebody else is the worst singer.

To sing alone is to live upto the crowd’s and your own expectation – there is no room to hide. It is frightful to sing alone. Yet, facing this fear is the key to an extraordinary performance.