Vowing Not To Use Cut & Glue Props

I was probably about ten years old when I stood in front of a portable podium, note cards bouncing in my trembling hands.  My oral report was on flags.  I made a construction paper flag for no less than fifty countries.  I’d never even heard of most of the countries, but they sure did have pretty cut and glue flags.  I thought nothing could be worse than standing in front of my classmates and speaking, but then worse happened.  Every one of my flags flew from the podium and scattered countries across the floor.  The result looked like a worldwide earthquake struck and displaced entire continents.  China suddenly shared land mass with Canada.  I was doomed to geographic failure.

I vowed never to use construction paper props in another speech for as long as I live.

Saturday morning I am speaking at a Ladies’ Tea in Maine.  My stomach is jumbled in happiness and fear.  Oh, I’ve spoken to groups of women before, but I never really get over the pre-talk jitters.

The fear comes from my own head.  Self-doubt says well, maybe you should have chosen a different topic.  Maybe it’s not what they expect.  Maybe your voice will crack a hundred and twenty times while you’re speaking and you’ll sound like a pre-bubescent boy attempting to sound like a grown-up woman.  Or worse, maybe I’ll just forget everything I planned to say.

I’ts terrible.  I have been this way for as long as I can remember.  My freshman year in college, I had a professor pull me aside and tell me to never, ever erase an answer on a test.  He warned me to always go with my first choice, because it was right.  He noticed that every single time I erased an answer, I got it wrong.  I should live and die, pass and fail by my gut instinct.

Doesn’t that sound easy?  Simply writing down or doing the first thing that comes to mind, the thing you know is right?

Not if you live with my mind.  I am queen of second guessing myself and God.  I do a good job of cutting everyone else some slack, but I pretty much terrorize myself for absolutely nothing.

I’m funny that way.

So in order to counteract my stinkin’ thinkin’, I over-prepared.  My time frame is 20-30 minutes.

TWENTY TO THIRTY MINUTES!

Yes, at first I thought, oh, no that’s a long time to be the only one talking, but my husband assured me that I have plenty of words to fill 30 minutes a hundred times over.

Turns out he might be right.

This morning I asked to him to guess how many pages I prepared.

“Six.”  He guessed shooting for what he thought was a high number.  Since he speaks publicly every single week, he’s estimating based on personal experience.  Then he added cushion, knowing I am a woman with many words.

“Thirteen.”  I said, hating to admit to each and every page.

I guess I went just a wee bit overboard, but I did not make one single cut and glue prop.

Now I’m slashing, crumbling, skipping, and crossing out.  It won’t be so difficult to remember everything,  not when I just threw half my words into the trash.

I do hope nobody from Maine is reading this.  I may scare them into not coming to the Ladies’ Tea.

Girls, I promise not to retrieve any pages from the trash, and I’ll try not to bore you to death.  Really, I will try.

All that to say this, I could use your prayers this weekend.  So could the ladies who will have to listen to me.

How are you when it comes to public speaking?

Do you thrive on an audience or do you run screaming to the bathroom.

Most of us are probably somewhere in the middle.

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15 thoughts on “Vowing Not To Use Cut & Glue Props

  1. Jill

    I think you’ll do great, and I really wish I was there to hear you! I get all excited about what I’m going to say as I’m putting my notes together (I never worry about the # of pages, things always go faster than the notes anyway), but then shortly before I speak I panic, thinking it was a stupid topic or a stupid approach and that I have no idea what I’m doing and that I’m going to sound like an idiot. But because I happen to thrive on attention, (I’m so shallow!) once I get up there and “get in the zone”, I forget all about the nerves. If you relax and enjoy yourself, they will too.

    Reply
  2. TheIdiotSpeaketh

    I am an Enigma…… I stand up in front of a crowd and I get so nervous I forget my own name. This makes no sense when you find that I actually did play-by-play announcing for HS Football and Basketball games….including on local TV…..and had no problems. How I can talk into a camera without being nervous is a mystery….

    Reply
  3. Deb

    I think you’re very brave. In no way will I ever do public speaking. I’m still trying to get over it in Junior High. 🙂 I wish I could be there on Saturday though. 😦

    Reply
  4. robinaltman

    I don’t think you’re alone on this issue! One of my friends is a psychologist who specializes in grief issues and helping people through traumas. She’ll give talks at companies if they have a terrible thing happen, in order to help them through the experience. She’s been doing this forever, yet each time gets a burst of adrenaline that sends her heart beating wildly, and her body trembling. So I’m not surprised when I get the call every 6 months to renew her propranalol! It’s a beta blocker – a medicine which will block the peripheral effects of that adrenaline surge. Musicians use it. Surgeons use it. You just don’t cheat! Ha!

    Reply
    1. the domestic fringe Post author

      Robin, I actually have a bottle of similar pills (I think they’re similar). The cardiologist gave them to me for my wacky heartbeats. Maybe I should take one before I speak. Never thought of that. I’m just afraid I’d be dozing on my notes or something.

      Reply
  5. bridgesburning

    Prayers on tjeir way even as we speak..I mean blog!
    I enjoy speaking ..one of those who thrive on attention..it’s nice having a captive audience..and I generally speak for laughs …and most seem to enjoy it,
    You will be fine! What is your subject?

    Reply
  6. Megan @ Faith Like Mustard

    I’m somewhere in the middle. However, there have been times when I feel calm on the inside but my freakishly weird body gets taken over by anxiety which means I’m feeling fine but my voice comes out shakey. Weird. That’s what I am.

    Reply
  7. Tori Nelson

    I always get the “I need to barf real quick” feeling leadign up to a public speaking event, but once I’m rambling I love it. You’ll be great! Just remember to breathe!

    Reply
  8. momfog

    I’m definitely not in the middle. I never volunteer to speak and if I can’t avoid it, there’s a good chance a sudden and mysterious illness will overtake me the day of the torture.

    I do play the piano in church from time to time. You couldn’t ask for a more supportive and loving audience, but it doesn’t stop my face from flushing crimson, my ears flaming with the heat of a thousand suns, or my hands trembling like a frightened chihuahua.

    Reply
    1. the domestic fringe Post author

      When I was a teenager, I played the piano in church. I’d get so nervous my arms and legs would shake like crazy. It was visible. Others noticed. The more nervous I’d get, the faster I’d play. Pretty soon no one could keep up with the piano. It was a terrible time. My church must have been extremely desperate to use me. So, I feel your pain and flushed face and trembling hands. 🙂

      Reply

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