July 27, 2012
You are just about to be called to the microphone. You’re – like most people (including me … and I’m experienced with communication skills Australia) – nervous. You’ve got all the administrative details squared away, asked all the questions, done all the research, turned up on time at the right place in your best ‘bib and tucker’ and you are ready … but you’re nervous!
Good! So you should be. It means that your body systems are setting you up for action.
As I wrote above, I get nervous, too – extremely nervous. But, happily, I know if I’ve done the work, then I’ll be fine and the speech will be successful.
But, to help ensure that result, I have a routine just before the start, just like pole-vaulters, high jumpers and sprinters have a routine before they explode into their event. The MC will have just warned everyone to get comfortable – get another drink, visit the loo, head back to their seats, whatever – and that’s my cue to disappear to the ‘Gentlemen’s’.
Here’s what I do:
1. I will probably use the loo. That’s a natural process and you should be as comfortable as possible before you take the stage,
2. From the floor up (I’m a man, so women may like to make their own variations to the actions I take) – my shoes; I will have polished them at home or at the hotel, but will re-shine them with a small cloth I have in my public speaking Australia kit,
3. I pull up my socks,
4. I re-tuck my shirt (it’d be too embarrassing to have it loose … in the wrong places) and adjust my belt,
5. Again from my small public speaking Australia kit bag, I use a fairly neutral deodorant (even though, as being just about a 100 per cent vegetarian, there’s no need for it). I use it – just in case, 6. My tie gets a straightening and is tightened-up,
7. The public speaking kit bag throws up a comb for a final thrash through whatever hair I have left,
8. I ‘shoot my cuffs’, and
9. Check the image in the mirror. “Hmm, I’m doing a Fonzie – I’m cool.”
Time to go!