Many people are terrified of speaking in public because they forget that most audiences don't listen anyway. Instead they pass the time imagining what they would say if if were them, up there, speaking.
Wallace left the lectern without waiting for questions because he was ignorant of the academic protocol of allowing his audience to recover from the indignity of having had to listen to him by subjecting him, in turn, to their ideas. He abandoned the frustrated questioners, who had been composing and rehearsing their questions in their minds from the moment he had begun to speak as a satisfying distraction from what he had been saying.
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