My Very First Presentation and What is a Magic Phrase for you

My Very First Presentation

I will never forget the first time I was asked to give a presentation, to give a speech. It was 1975 I was about to graduate from elementary school. I was at Bruns Avenue Elementary in the inner city of Charlotte North Carolina. My teacher came up to me one-day sort of pulled me by the sleeve and said “Hey TJ I will make a deal with you. Right now you have got good grades in every subject except for handwriting. I will give you an A in handwriting if you give the welcoming speech at graduation to parents, teachers, and students now.”

That time, I was an incredibly shy kid. I was someone who rarely talked in class. Basically never put my hand up. I had no natural aptitude whatsoever for publics. I had to no idea why she asked me to do this. But I figured. I would kind of like to have an A in handwriting. How hard could it be. So I said “Okay I will do it and I told Mrs. Troop okay I will do that speech.

So I went home wrote, and rewrote a couple of things, stood up I think I actually read the speech (Fellow, students, parents, teachers at Bruns Avenue Elementary. Thank you for coming to this graduation ceremony.) Then I sat down. It was pretty much that brief that uninteresting. But you know what I got through it the world did not open up swallow me. Nothing bad happened.

In fact, something good happened I got an A on my handwriting on the report card. Now I do not know if that is a good thing what the teacher did but it taught me an important lesson. An early age if you are just willing to stand up and speak good things will happen to you the fact that I was nervous scared, uncomfortable. It did not really matter I still got the good things afterwards. So that is the lesson I learned

Okay so why did I tell that story? Why do I tell that story in speeches? Because I want people to know I am not some natural-born speaker. I mean we have all seen some kindergartners are just Mr. Pizzazz miss pizzazz. They are really out go. I was not like that.  I want people that I teach on how to give presentations and speeches, and how to speak to the media to know I was not a natural. You do not have to be a natural. Everyone can start off uncomfortable even shy. It does not matter these are skills people can learn and you can learn at any age.

Now they especially try to stress this from time to time. Because some people will look at my videos or see me speak.  They just naturally assume I am just so confident and relaxed and smooth. I cannot even relate to someone being nervous or uncomfortable and truth be told. This sounds little arrogant to say it. I apologize I am really not nervous when I speak these days. I have not been for decades I am more nervous when I do not get to speak in a certain day or a certain week. So that can make me seem out of touch with some of my clients who are uncomfortable. That is why I tell this story. That is really the message you are not born being a great speaker. It is a learned skill and most people are naturally nervous and uncomfortable about speaking.  

What is a Magic Phrase for you?

What is a magic phrase for presenters, public speakers, people givingpresentations? It is (for example.) You can actually look at audiences when aspeaker says: “(for example) you will see head movement upward. People are lookingfor ways of visualizing the concept.” That was just discussed I have never yetheard.  People leave a theater orconference any public speaking venue and say: “I hated the way that speakergave us so many interesting relevant examples.”

Finally This is the difference between ordinary and extraordinary people:

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