Last week I attended my church conference not as a representative of my local church, but instead as a representative of our district which is composed of approximately 85 churches. In this role, I was asked to speak briefly to all of the laity (non-clergy) in attendance. What made my talk different than the other three given during that session was that instead of being inspirational, it was a mini-class.
This happened primarily because I was given minimal notice and when in doubt, I revert to “teacher” mode. After years of practice, if I possess the minimal amount of knowledge required, I can probably do a reasonable job of teaching the subject. And so when choosing to speak on a topic, I almost always choose an instructional message versus an inspirational message – even when speaking at church. But there is power in this approach.
[featured-image single-newwindow=”false” id=”130801-Theater” alt=”Auditorium”]Image via Flickr by Bahman Farzad[/featured-image]
Let me start by saying that I have never been in a play or been part of a theater production; however, I have a lot of theater friends and have attended theater performances from local community theater to Broadway productions. So although I haven’t been on stage, I have learned a great deal from being in the audience, listening to the actors debrief and just being generally observant. What I have come to realize is that speaking and acting have a great number of commonalities, and a good speaker can learn a a few lessons in speaking from their actor cousins.
[featured-image single-newwindow=”false” id=”130719-Microphone” alt=”Microphone”]Image via Flickr by comedy_nose[/featured-image]
In my professional development class, How To Teach It, I often get comments about the challenges of being in front of a group – more commonly known as stage fright. Below are the methods I have successfully used for years in managing stage fright to the point it rarely happens any more. And none of these techniques require you visualizing anyone naked!!
The secret to excellence is simple: you have to be willing to try, miss the mark, analyze what went astray, make adjustments and then try again. In short, you have to be willing to practice!
[featured-image single-newwindow=”false” id=”130702-PianoKeyboard” alt=”Piano Keyboard”]Image via Flickr by dgj103[/featured-image]
And there it is, as simple as that. But it is really that simple? Probably not quite, because you do need to have some basic competencies in the area in which you seek to be excellent. But the difference between someone being truly excellent versus good or adequate is rarely (if ever) raw talent; it has significantly more to do with their willingness to invest time and energy in the form of practice.