Friday, July 06, 2007

No Speaker is Perfect--Laugh at Your Mistakes

Recently when I directed a 90-minute seminar about stage fright for the Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce (GNFCC), a strong Atlanta area organization, I said that we can reduce our stage fright by accepting that we are not going to be perfect. We're all going to make mistakes. Admitting that to ourselves upfront relieves our tension. In fact, I advised, we should even learn to laugh at our bloopers. That's far more constructive than fretting about them.

Then I told the group about an embarrassing goof I committed while I was emceeing an annual alumni event for the college where I was vice president. In front of 400 banquet guests, I intended to say that one of the women honorees, who was present, had written a play about the college in 1950. Unfortunately, I said she had written it in 1850. The crowd laughed uproariously, and I learned why when someone explained my inaccuracy after the event.
Having described my own inglorious moment at the podium, I asked the GNFCC seminar participants to tell us about their most embarrassing experiences while speaking to a group. Alan Urech, pictured above, responded with a smile.

Alan recalled an occasion when he was presiding, and needed to introduce a man to the group. The man's name: Johnny Walker. Alan told his audience, "And now I want you to give a good welcome to. . .Jack Daniels."

As you can guess, our GNFCC seminar participants laughed for a long time. Alan's example was especially meaningful because he is unusually gifted as a speaker--articulate, poised, and polished. So if even he could get his thoughts twisted that much, the rest of us should accept our imperfections, and even chuckle about them, as Alan did about his.
To learn more about Alan Urech, an amazing business leader, please visit his Web site:
And for additional guidelines for becoming the speaker that audiences want to hear, order my audio CD--"How to Become a Dynamic Speaker!"--using this link: