Your Next BIG Speech
“Hey, Love, you want some whiskey?” I call through the bathroom door.
There is no immediate response. I shrug it off and return to the kitchen. A few moments later my wife opens the bathroom door and just stands there. Her face is an ambiguous combination of shock, elation, confusion, and calm.
“I don’t think it would be a good idea that I drink,” is her response.
“Huh? Ok. I’m still going to have some,” I reply with disappointment and pour myself a drink. She remains standing in the bathroom doorway.
“What? You’re being weird.” I snip back.
“I’m pregnant!” she exclaims.
I blink a few times and remain staring at her with my mouth agape. The seconds tick by. I am left speechless.
And like that, our adventure into parenthood began.
For the next few months there would be a growing sense of fear, apprehension, and uncertainty as we began our preparations to the house and our lives to welcome our first child.
We would struggle with deciding what colors to paint the nursery. We would constantly weigh the benefits and risks for whether to have the child sleep in bed with us versus next to us in a bassinet. We would contemplate how much time we could afford to take off work.
I personally wrestled with anxiety about whether we could afford the new expenses another person would bring. But above all, I panicked at the realization I was going to be a dad. Parents? Us! Oh God!!
As we progressed through the pregnancy, there was one thing I happily realized - "we’ve got this."
It became clear early on that any apprehension we felt prior to each new stage eventually seemed unwarranted. For example, by the time my wife was 8-months pregnant the fear of the birth and “what are we going to do?” became “get this thing out of me.” Or when the child was in diapers the fear of “will we be able to potty train her?” became “wait? How much will we save by getting her out of diapers?”
As it turns out, there was always enough time to figure things out between when we felt the fear of doing something and when the actual act occurred. We were always ready. We had this realization of readiness while raising the first kid. By the time we had our second child, almost all the fear we experienced the first time around became non-existent with the second. We went from helicopter parents where we sterilized, clung, and nurtured everything step with our first child to “at least wipe it off…before you give it back to her” with the second.
It became fairly obvious that life prepares you for the next step. There is truth to the “God only gives you what you can handle” thing. Eventually, with repetition, things became much less stressful.
Experience has a huge calming influence when dealing with life’s little dramas, whether raising children or dealing with your next speech.
If you told to me in 1997 that I would someday be an advocate or herald of public speaking, I would never have believed you. I remember my first and only “Public Speaking” class. I took it my sophomore year in college. I do not remember the instructor’s name, but I do remember he was a weasely dick.
As for the class, I remember being panicked each week at the idea of giving a simple 5-minute talk. Every week we would attempt a different type of talk. There were persuasive talks. There were informative talks. There were interpretive talks. Talks with note cards and talks without. I recall giving a “how to…” talk on making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It was all riveting stuff (snark). I passed the class with no more confidence in my speaking then when I entered the classroom.
It took nearly 20 years later before I finally developed the confidence to communicate clearly. Hopefully, it won’t take you that long. For me, I was unwilling to speak. It wasn’t until recently that I made more effort to present as often as possible. Due to this, my experience continues to grow, as does my confidence.
If I could brag for a second, my confidence in presenting is enough that I’ve actually walked into a class of 35 students and presented for nearly 2 hours on “Careers in Science” without advanced preparation or any PowerPoint material. I gave an overview of my job, my educational background, and expectations for my job. I then led the class in discussion on different careers in science. We covered everything from work experiences and education expectations to myths in science and the media.
It was awesome and light-years better than that 5-minute PB&J sandwich talk all those years ago.
My point is this...experience breeds comfort. Whether parenting or public speaking, the more you do something the better you become at it. The more you do something, the more ready you are for whatever comes at you. As parents you have to overcome a lot of challenges. As a speaker, you may need to overcome a bunch of challenges. Use the confidence and problem solving skills you experience as a parent to combat any issues you may be dealing with for you next big speech.
Its as easy as that.
Good luck. God bless.
Parenting & Public Speaking. Together
The behaviors, experiences, and techniques parents use everyday can improve YOUR NEXT BIG SPEECH. Whether it be using silly voices or just playing with the kids, these actions improve self-confidence, stage presence, and audience engagement. And that’s just the beginning…