November 7, 2008

I do and I understand, part 2



Throwing the discus is hard. At least throwing it well is hard.

I'm trying to pivot my foot with enough speed to power my hip, which in turn powers my torso, building momentum and torque and causing my throwing arm to whip around at just the right angle, sending the discus flying with just the right speed and height. You can see here that it's coming together, but slowly.

At the same time, I have to watch where my head is going, not lose my balance, and make sure my shoulders don't get ahead of my legs. Every movement is separate, yet works together like a machine to create one fluid motion.

And that's just a standing throw. Don't even talk to me about the full throw.

It's hard to imagine that one day I will do all of these things without thinking, or that 25 years ago, I DID do all of these things without thinking.

Public speaking works the same way.

You are standing in front of the audience and your brain is doing this:

What did I just say?
Look at the left side of the room.
Smile.
It's hot in here.
Am I pacing? Stop pacing.
Stop fiddling with the remote.
What comes next? What comes after that?
Push the button for the next slide.
I'm running behind. Should my activity take five minutes or three?
That person's not paying attention. How do I get her attention?
Slow down.
It's cold in here.
Uh oh, crutch phrase.
I need a drink of water.
Look at the right side of the room.
What was the name of the guy who asked that question before?
Why did I wear these shoes?
Increase volume.
Was that clear? Maybe I should explain it again.
Speed up.
Decrease volume.

In the beginning, it's hard to put all the pieces together and make your body and mind cooperate and run smoothly.

But the more you practice speaking in front of an audience, the more automatic all of these tasks will become and many will become unconscious. You'll just know what to do without thinking about it.

Keep practicing and you'll get there. And so will I!

"I do and I understand" part 1 is here.

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