Thursday, 4 April 2013

Doing a Talk - the Curse of Public Speaking



I haven’t stood up in front of a group of people for a while. In the past, I’ve been a music teacher, run adult courses and given live radio and TV interviews – and they were all fairly terrifying. But I’m not ashamed of my fear. I think it’s common and understandable.
(Microsoft clip-art)
The one big difference between writing and speaking is that writing has its own neat get-out clause. If you make a mistake or you hesitate, you put all the words down back to front or you tail off - no one knows a thing about it. You go back and change it, polish it, wipe it out altogether - and in the end you have a neat finished product. No one gets to see the early drafts, the flawed attempts, the rewrites and rounds of editing. But speaking is all ‘out there’; it’s immediate for everyone to hear and you can’t press delete.

I love words, but I need time to choose the right ones and put them together in the right order! 

I love words but I can never think fast enough under pressure to say what I really mean. I need time.

I’m an Introvert and that’s how we are. We need time to reflect before we speak; space to process what a question means and what our answer will be. Extroverts are the opposite – they work out what they’re trying to say as they go along; they often speak before they’ve thought things through. They’re far more spontaneous, but can sometimes put their foot in it. Whereas Introverts can end up looking tongue-tied and a bit lost…


(Microsoft clip-art)
I’d much rather get a message across on email than I would over the phone. Writing is so much better than speaking out loud – you get a second, a third chance. As many as you need. You get to check you’ve used the right words and been as unambiguous and clear as possible. Why do people think writers make good speakers? Some of them do, of course, but most of them prefer to write things down!