Wee Scoops

Measure for Measure

Practise what you preach

(Waaa! Spelling Crisis! Should this title be practice or practise?)

I had to give a talk today. It was about being a Christian in the workplace – which is ironic, considering that I am on a career break… but never mind. I’m in work almost weekly for various spurious reasons, and I am going back for real before I know it 🙂

And, truth be told, it is part of my job to teach people how to give talks. So, as you’d expect, I know how to do it.

But it’s different in practice.

No matter how much I know I need to slow down and speak clearly, I have an inner compulsion to speak at very high speed, juddering away like a verbal machine gun, fully aware that I am doing it.

If I read my talk out, I can do it slowly. But then it’s not a talk, it’s a “read”. And there’s something about read things that make them different to follow than someone just speaking.

I think my rapidity is a result of a fear that I have too much to say and that before I get to the main thing, the mic will get swiped from me for the next person. Or I have some belief that people will get bored if I go on for too long so I’d better get it over with – this probably stems from my own experience of wishing people would get to the point.

The good thing was that there was a decent microphone, so I figure it was all picked up, even if it was a bit of a blur.

I was also annoyed with my structure, which was okay – but had I not been laid low with the cold for the best part of the week – I could have worked on it.

Never mind – I think it was okay 🙂

However, putting my knowledge of how to give a talk into rushed practice gives me a bit more sympathy with the people whose talks I listen to.

And I listen to a lot of talks and am hypercritical, generally.

I should slow down and learn the things I know. That would be sensible.


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8 thoughts on “Practise what you preach

  1. Laurie Nichols on said:

    I can commiserate about the overwhelming urge to barrel right through a talk for exactly the same reasons. There must be a reason why there is a saying such as Practice what you preach, it is easier to advise perhaps. There is something about being in front of people that throws me out of my head and I stutter and sputter. I admire the fact that you continue to do it.:)

  2. Talking in public is never the same from one time to the other, no matter if you’re doing the same speech. There are these other participants, a.k.a. the audience that can totally unnerve you OR boost you. I speak too fast – just like you. I know I should slow down, let my arms hang relaxed by my side, but nope, I can’t. I’ve decide to embrace the way I am, and nowadays I give talks that sort of burst with energy in which I zoom from whiteboard to ppt to sitting on the desk (if there is one). So far, the audiences seem to enjoy it – well, not all obviously, and rest assured that the ones who didn’t like it are the ones most likely to give you any feedback 🙂

  3. Every time I speak, I receive differing feedback (there is a form they are supposed to fill out!) Some love, some are totally mean. Too bad, eh? 🙂

  4. I know exactly how you feel. Sooner you than me, is all I can say 🙂

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