Saturday, August 05, 2006

Radio DJ Endures a "Mark Twain Moment"

My monthly newsletter--"Winning Words and Ways"--included an article about Mark Twain, describing an embarrassing experience he suffered through during one of his first appearances as a professional lecturer. When he stood up, his mind went blank. For two minutes, he faced the audience without uttering a word. Eventually, he started talking. As history shows, he became one of the most successful and popular lecturers ever.

The point I made with the illustration was that none of us should try to be perfect, because even the best presenters have their off days, yet recover and keep improving.

Bill Platt, who syndicates my articles through his excellent company,The Phantom Writers,responded by recounting a similar mishap with an audience:

Many years ago, I used to be a d.j. at a radio station, back in 1999. I did pretty good at that.

While I was working at the station, a friend of mine tapped me to emcee a fund-raising concert. I had a lot of reservations about doing it, but finally agreed after much prodding.

It went really well until... I announced the band and the curtain did not open. My friend poked his head through the curtain and told me they were having technical problems. He told me to keep talking for about ten minutes.

I was stunned and unprepared. I had a Mark Twain moment. I stood and stared at the audience for about three minutes... Although it felt like an eternity. It was a true "deer in the headlights" moment for me.

Then I proceeded to stutter and mutter for twenty minutes waiting for the band to get their stuff together.

I knew half of the people in the audience, so it was much worse for me.

I did not give in again to public speaking until last year, when I did a telephone interview with a mlm company online. Ironically, they had scheduled me for 45 minutes, and they forced a stop at an hour and a half. I enjoyed it.

I know that I definitely have public speaking in my future again. AND most importantly, your article today has given me the boost I need to overcome my "deer in the headlights" fear.

NOTE: Visit Bill Platt's Web site:

To read my articles about improving your communication skills, go to:


Blogger Tim 'Gonzo' Gordon said...

I laughed and cringed when I read this post. I went through the same thing years ago. I was a DJ and as a result occasionally was called upon to MC some event or open up a concert. It always scared me to death. It wasn't until ten years ago I finally ran out of excuses and joined Toastmasters - the best professional move I've ever made. I would urge any one who wants to learn public speaking to check out Toastmasters - a most supportive group that's all about learning and having fun while doing it!

11:16 AM  
Blogger Tim 'Gonzo' Gordon said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:16 AM  
Blogger Bill Lampton, Ph.D. said...

Tim, I was a radio DJ, too. I remember that there was something comfortable about not facing the audience I spoke to. I couldn't see any negative feedback at all, such as people yawning or looking out the window.

7:14 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home