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Question: What do giving a holiday speech and giving a holiday gift have in common?
Answer: We use the same principles to give a speech or to give a gift!
When we think of the folks on our holiday gift list, whether they're the people we work, live or network with, we take into consideration their likes and dislikes, the financial limits we all agree to observe, and then try to come up with something they'll appreciate that they didn't have before. Something that will make them feel we care about them. And when they smile and say, "Thanks, I love this, it's just what I need!" they'll really mean it.
You have to write a speech for an important occasion like a presentation for your company. Or perhaps it's the toast at a wedding, a bon voyage send-off to someone who's retiring, or a memorial speech for someone you loved. You stare at the white page while a million jumbled thoughts run through your head. Or worse, you can't think of a thing to say. You have some vague feelings about how you'd like your speech to sound, but you're totally confused when you try to find the words to begin.
You're not alone. For many people, the fear of speaking in public is not getting up and talking. It's not knowing if what they're going to say is "right".
When you listen to a speaker you haven't heard before, do you sometimes feel you can't concentrate on what's being said? Your attention wanders, you squirm in your chair, look at your watch, and start thinking about what you'll have for lunch. What is it that turns you off? Are you just not in the mood to listen? Or is there something the speaker is actually doing that makes it difficult or impossible for you to keep your attention focused on receiving his message?
When you're asked to give a speech, are you convinced the audience is there to judge you and find you wanting? Are you sure you'll forget something important, say something bass-ackwards, turn red from embarrassment, speak too fast or too slow, or generally show that you're totally lacking in confidence or competence? Do you endure hot flashes, cold sweats, upset stomachs, the shakes, and can't wait to get it over with?
Flash! You don't have to go through all that! The audience is not licking its lips gleefully to see you make fool of yourself. On the contrary, the audience is rooting for you.
Why is it that when some folks are asked to say something at a special occasion, their first question is, "Do I have to write a speech?" This is accompanied by raising their eyebrows in dismay and possibly wrinkling their nose as if at a malodorous smell. The underlying meaning is, "Please tell me I don't have to write a speech. Can't I just wing it?"
Why is 'winging it' never a good idea? And what's the big deal about writing a speech?
You need to write a speech for an important occasion. Whether it's a presentation for your company, the toast at a wedding, a send-off to a colleague who's retiring, or a memorial speech for someone you loved, you want to get it right. But at the moment you sit down to write the speech, you stare at the white page while a bunch of jumbled thoughts tumble through your head. Or alternatively you can't think of a thing to say. You have an idea how you'd like your speech to sound, but when you try to find the words to begin, all you feel is total confusion.
You're not alone. For many people, the fear of speaking in public is not getting up and talking. It's not knowing if they're going to say it "right".