This week I’m attending a metaphysical event and the first couple lectures were brilliant. New perspectives and insights are always welcome in my world. I was really excited at the prospect of two weeks of such greatness. But not everyone is a great speaker, and not everyone with Ph.D. is truly an expert.
Some speakers have more education than they have the ability to articulate. One in particular sounded well, a bit like a flake which gave me deeper understanding of why people are leery about metaphysicians. Some make everything all about them with the hopes of selling their services. Others talk in circles in attempt to be so esoteric that they are inaccessible to common folk like me. They get so excited they can’t slow down enough to find their focus, if they had one to begin with. They tell stories in attempt to illustrate their point (because stories stick better than raw data) but get so swept up in their personal revelations that they fail to communicate clearly to the audience. The old “you had to be there” to grasp the significance.
I was willing to give the speakers the benefit of working through any discomfort they might have been having talking to a global audience. Public speaking is the most common fear among the masses and is a skill that is not as easily mastered as experts might wish you to believe. Speaking well requires a comfort with your subject, your audience, and most importantly yourself. If you lack confidence or are unprepared, it only takes a couple moments for the audience to pick up on that, even without being able to see you. Sadly, I don’t believe that was the case with any of the speakers I heard. If anything they sounded a little overconfident.
I’ve known a couple people who were incredible geniuses in their field of expertise, only to have been short-changed of anything resembling common sense. This made them hard to relate to, not to mention, intimidating. Some of them had multiple advanced degrees, which made them appear as professional students who couldn’t pick a major. In high school I had an Algebra teacher who would show the class how to solve the problem twice. If you still didn’t understand, you “weren’t paying attention” and therefore, “wasting his time.”
We all can’t be great communicators. When studying with experts, be open, but be exercise common sense. Only you pay for being gullible. If something doesn’t resonate with you, let it roll on by. If the data imparted is too confusing, seek clarity elsewhere. No matter how brilliant the expert, the greatness inside goes to waste if they aren’t able to impart their knowledge effectively. Don’t blame yourself for not understanding, or allow yourself to feel lesser in some way. Search for experts able to communicate on your level without talking over your head or around the topic altogether. But that’s just my opinion.