My favorite technique for calming myself in front of an audience is looking for focal points (aka, “friendly faces”)
“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.
I remember the very first time I lost a debate to one of my kids. My oldest daughter was about 2 at the time. We were sitting at our kitchen table snacking on some fresh “squeaky cheese” and water. My wife was in the kitchen putting away dishes. In between rounds of emptying the dishwasher and walking to the cabinets, she grabbed her glass of water and took a sip. Rattling around the bottom of her glass was a lemon wedge. Instantly an idea surged into my daughter’s mind. “Daddy, can I put cheese in my water?”
“No, Honey. We don’t put cheese in water. That’s icky.”
“But Mommy has lemon in her water. That’s icky, too.”
And like that, I was stumped. I’m a rational person. Analytical. Open-minded. Fair. And her logic was sound, especially, for a 2 year-old. Who am I to question what flavor water she would enjoy? In a world marketed full of crazy-ass food-in-water combos, whether it’s a lemon, lime, orange crush, cucumber, or cheese curd, they all serve the same purpose – they flavor water.
Impressed, I glanced at my wife with a twinge of uncertainty, laced with an air of acceptance and surrender. “You’re right, Sweet Pea. If you want to put the cheese in your water, go right ahead.” I paused for a second then asked, “So, how does it taste?”
“Good” she said with a satisfying gulp, placing the glass back on the table.
Damn…I got schooled.
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…