Ever faced the dreaded combination of stage fright and an unexpected challenge?
Well, I have, and let me tell you, it involved a sneeze attack and a surprise speech.
As the head girl of my high school, I thought public speaking was a breeze – until one day in 9th grade.
The Speech Ambush:
Just the day before a school assembly, I was handed a speech to memorize. Simple, right? Not when you’re battling a sudden dust allergy.
Cue uncontrollable sneezing – not the ideal prep for a speech. I popped anti-allergy pills like candy, but my nose had other plans.
It turned into a warm waterfall, and reading the speech made it worse. I became a master at reading through a runny nose.
Sleepless Night Drama:
Mugging up a speech was never my cup of tea, especially with a leaky nose. Despite high-dose medication, sleep eluded me.As the dawn approached, an exhaustion set in. Sleep-deprived, sniffly, and with puffy eyes, I had a choice, give the speech or face the wrath of my teachers. Duty called, and so did my need for sleep.
Mic in hand, half-asleep, I began with confidence. But halfway through, I blanked out. Panic? Yes. The audience staring? Definitely. What did I do? I confessed. “None of this was my idea; blame the internet!”as I confidently said,further continuing the speech I deviated from the script, shared my perspective on Women’s Day, and finished the speech my way. Applause ensued.
. . . .
Our political science teacher came to my rescue, my unexpected hero, praising my brilliance. As they argued, I made a swift exit, vowing never to memorize a speech again.
Link to the rest at Medium
PG has given quite a number of speeches of various types.
- In college, he had many classes which required him to interpret various types of literature, including everything from folk tales to Shakespeare to lengthy poems by Vachel Lindsay.
- He has spoken to quite a number of judges and juries, attempting to further the cause of clients admirable and disreputable.
- He has delivered more than a few church sermons.
- He has spoken to groups fellow attorneys from Hawaii to Beverly Hills to Chicago to Manhattan to London about how to use technology to improve the management and operations of their offices.
Allow PG to make a few suggestions about dealing with the unexpected when giving a speech:
- Don’t memorize if you can get around doing so by hook or by crook.
- If you have to memorize, slip a copy of what you’re supposed to memorize into a pocket or some other easy-to-reach place on your person, so you can refresh your recollection or read a bit until your memory kicks into gear.
- An outline of your presentation is a much better idea than having a verbatim written speech. This gives you the option to let bright thoughts to pop up off your head or, if you will be speaking following other speakers, comment on some of the things they have said.
- If you have the option of using a PowerPoint for your speech (with a large monitor or projector so your audience can properly view it), your PowerPoint can substitute for an outline. Please don’t read from your PowerPoint, however. You can sometimes use a printed version of a PowerPoint as an outline of your presentation.
If you are not familiar with Vachel Lindsay’s poetry, he was a popular performer of some of his best-known works in the late 19th and early 20th centures. Below, you’ll hear him recite (perform is a better description) his most famous epic poem, The Congo.
PG warns one and all that Lindsay, who died in 1931, reflected the times during which he lived in his attitudes and writing about African-Americans.
Skip the performance if exceedingly out of date and offensive attitudes towards descendants of African slaves may offend or upset you.