In order to make me feel better about abysmal parking
skills, my dad told me about a Zen teaching.
he said, “they say that in order to master something, you have to do it
ten-thousand times.” Then he put in numerical terms for me. Say you parked an
average of once a day; it would take fifteen years before you had parked 10,000
times. So, I’ve still got a ways to go.
think about it, there are very few things I have done ten thousand times:
breathing, tying my shoelaces, spelling the word decision – and even those
things I haven’t mastered. Unfortunately, I don’t have time to practice my
Capstone Speech ten thousand times.
Sairam, I am experiencing the peculiar existential crisis of having finished my
Capstone Paper. (What will I do with all this spare time???) The quandary is
premature, however. This is only the calm before the storm. Next Monday, it
happens: the big finale. The Colloquium.
has been chosen as a keynote speaker. I have the dubious honor of giving my speech
in front of the entire Colloquium audience before they break up into smaller
groups to see the other speeches.
past, I’ve always found it easier to give a speech in front of a large group of
people than to deliver the speech to myself in the mirror. Having a bit of
experience performing – mostly improvisational theatre – I generally don’t get
that nervous about public speaking. I’ve never had much of a need to stand in
front of a mirror and practice a speech ten thousand times.
I am genuinely honored and humbled to have been chosen out of all of my peers
for this task, but let’s face it, if I wasn’t at least a little bit nervous, people would be checking to see if I still had
a pulse. My main problem is figuring out how to practice, since I clam up in
front of a mirror, and the more anxious I get about my speech, the more I
bumble when I try to present it to my professors.
I got by with a little help from my friends. Two friends were looking on as I
flipped through my power point. Excited by their interest, relaxed by their
company, I started to explain…and the speech came tumbling out of my mouth!
Maybe in this instance, practicing my speech
ten thousand times isn’t going to help all that much, since it will just make
me more nervous. In a moment of clarity, the three best ways to deliver a
speech hit me.
your topic inside and out; if you know what you’re talking about, everything
else will come naturally.
Both of my yoga teachers have told me this. You need oxygen to keep your brain
on top of its game. Plus, breathing deeply will help relax you.
fun! The audience can tell when you’re having a great time, and chances are,
your mood will be infectious.
I hope to see you at the Colloquium!