NEW CASTLE —
I'm imagining you all naked right now.
Did you know that a majority of the American population fear public speaking more than death itself? Yes, they would rather be in the coffin than give the eulogy.
I don’t have any love for speaking to large groups of people in a formal setting, nor do I like speaking to a small group, or even with a single person when it's important. To go to a boss or co-worker and inquire about any particular subject takes some working up to and preparation.
In these situations, I typically get flustered and nervous, then I get off track and end up recoiling with a one-liner or some type of joke. I can feel my face getting flushed, and the top of my head starts to sweat. Then I stumble over a word, and I feel like my point is slowly crumbling. Guh!
That is exactly why I hate answering the phone. On the other end of the line inevitably lies something that I am unprepared for. Some scenario that I may not have a full and complete answer for is waiting for me on the other side. Though I don’t quite understand that irrational fear, I do know enough to accept the fact that it exists.
My wife has asked, “How can you be nervous when you used to play in a band in front of hundreds of people?”
Well, she's right. I did “perform” in front of hundreds of people, but it was an incredibly rehearsed performance. We had gone through those songs literally hundreds of times. In the writing and recording process alone we had lived through the evolution and growth of those songs. I had participated in the development of the sound and feel of those songs so closely that even today I can recite nearly every lyric and tell you exactly what setting our equipment was at certain points.
I was so engrossed in the material that it was nearly second nature to perform those songs. I knew the material in and out, and in the few rare occurrences that we ran into technical difficulties, it was a simple lateral shift that kept us afloat in front of a mass of fans. It didn’t hurt to be flanked by two guys who were just as well-versed with the songs we were performing, but the message is the same. Know the material that you are presenting and know it well.
I share all that to say this: public speaking is nothing more than selling your words. You are crafting a sales pitch to your audience. You have to know your product and/or topic inside and out. To do any less would do yourself an injustice. You need to find the passion in your subject. There is nothing worse than a monotone, dispassionate speaker who is merely going through the motions.
I treat it much like a face-to-face conversation, thus all the same rules apply. Make eye contact with your audience, don't fidget with your notes or papers, and speak clearly and strongly. Also feel free to make gestures and motions with your hands, and most important, keep the umms and uhhhs to a bare minimum.
Back in high school I did a speech in an Oral English class. We were required to do a persuasive speech that was the minimum of fives minutes on any subject. I chose to do it on the effects of the PMRC on the music industry and their attempts to restrict artistic expression. I gave a passionate speech that extended well past the five-minute mark.
I had all my facts, figures and opinions outlined. I expressed them fervently and thoroughly. After closing, the teacher rose from the back of the room and said, “Great work. That was an amazing speech, even though I do not agree with a single word you said.”
Just goes to show that your delivery and presentation make all the difference in the world. I'm not saying I was not nervous. Frankly, I was shaking in my boots (or high tops as it was the late ’80s). I had never had to do something like that, but I went at it with gusto and passion, and the outcome was great because I got an A in the class.
It all comes down to this — what is the worst that could happen? A moment of public embarrassment or some jittery mistakes. But once all is said and done, I promise you will immediately feel better and more accomplished. You may be surprised to find out that under your nervousness there lies a natural leader who shines brightest under pressure. Plus, you will know what kind of underwear everybody wears.
NEW CASTLE —
I'm imagining you all naked right now.
- News Bloggers
Tim Kolodziej: Even 25 years later, ‘Bad Boys’ are pretty good
Full disclosure: I hated the “Bad Boys.” Hated those dudes. If you were an NBA fan during the league’s heyday of Magic, Larry and Michael, you know exactly who I’m talking about.
The Couch Potato: ‘Cable is my friend — I am missing my friend’
This is an extra special edition of the Couch Potato, mainly because you don't have to read my rant this week. My friend of many years has a story to tell, entertainment-themed as always, and it's quite good.
Gary Church: So, where WAS I dumping our sewage?
If it takes using a tool to make home repairs, I tend to shy away from it. I didn't do well in wood shop, nor mechanical engineering class.
Lisa Madras: Want to feel more welcome? Just say ‘thank you’
When was the last time you said, "thank you" to yourself? I've been a busy, busy girl lately. And by lately, I mean about the past several years or so.
Josh Drespling: If you can’t stand the heat — don’t let me hear you complain!
Despite his best efforts to prolong his vengeful existence, Old Man Winter has met with what we can only hope was an incredibly painful and agonizing demise.
Gary Church: Looks like happy trails for this old Bunny to hop
I've just learned that my 35-year career has suddenly come to an end. It was a little hard on me, hearing that my services were no longer needed. I thought being the Easter Bunny and hiding eggs was a life-long occupation.
Tim Kolodziej: ‘God’s Not Dead’ and the hope of Easter
So my wife and I went to see “God’s Not Dead” the other night. While this film certainly has its flaws, there’s also plenty to like, including a line that could give both sides of the argument a sensible starting point.
The Couch Potato: It may take some work, but just press ‘Play’
When the old Couch Potato is forced to take a long drive, there’s nothing better than plugging the iPhone into the stereo, hitting the shuffle button on the music list and seeing where the road and Apple’s processor takes you.
Gary Church: Congratulations, grandma and grandpa — it’s a ... box?
I hate it when posts on Facebook have to be explained to me. When did everything change? I have a great-nephew, and every time he says something funny, I need an interpreter to get the joke. Last week, I hit an all-time low.
Lisa Madras: My life isn’t simple — but today, it’s an open book
What is your cosmic elevator pitch? I found this question today and wanted to throw it out there for a couple of reasons. Let me start by clarifying that I'm not asking what you do for a living, or how many kids you have, or even what you might write about yourself for an online dating profile.
- More News Bloggers Headlines
- Tim Kolodziej: Even 25 years later, ‘Bad Boys’ are pretty good