Isn’t it funny how people love to see others screw up? I got a lot of clicks on my post last week titled, Insert Boot in Mouth.
Speaking in front of a crowd, however, sends me into a tailspin.
I must digress a moment and make another confession, as I tend to do on this blog. It’s not the best timing to fess up, and I postponed this post from last week because it was even worse timing. But, I trust my blogging friends will still like me anyway.
My dad commented on my post last week and hinted to this confession I’m about to make.
So … deep breath … here goes … my dad is a politician.
Ack, right? Can you imagine the “discussions” in our Italian household growing up?
To be clear, he is a local politician in a community outside of Chicago. In other words, he’s not a Chicago politician. I’m not trying to paint a Pollyanna picture, because politics is an ugly business. But, my dad has helped many over the years. He is semi-retired and should be fully retired by now. Most of his remaining work is volunteer.
Now, back to the topic at hand. The event I wrote about going to was a political fund raiser (local) my dad put together. I hadn’t lived here in so long, I forgot how good he was at public speaking. I was impressed, proud and envious all at the same time. Why didn’t I inherit that gene?
Although my dad never wrote fiction, he has told us hilarious stories about his past adventures. He even has one about how/why he got involved with politics. It was to spite a politician who wouldn’t listen to him about a community project.
So, I got the storytelling gene, but not the public speaking gene.
I asked Dad if he gets nervous when speaking to an audience. He said he’s been doing it for so long, it doesn’t even cross his mind. What I really found interesting was that he was still Dad up there. His personality didn’t change. He wasn’t a pretend character to impress the audience. He was the same man I’ve known from birth.
His strong Chicago accent (example: Dah Bears) resounded throughout the room. When he wasn’t sure if he thanked everyone involved, he asked the audience if he forgot anyone. A couple of people reminded him, and he went on to mention the names he’d forgotten. He wasn’t embarrassed at all about forgetting. He just moved forward, which came across as professional and inclusive.
If it were me, I’d be stumbling and bumbling through my words. Spittle would likely fly from my mouth and I might even choke on some of it.
I suppose I should practice … maybe join Toastmasters? I have the tremors just thinking about it.
Side note: I steered clear of the “family” business.
How do you feel about public speaking? Are you comfortable? Do you panic? Somewhere in between?