- Use ‘you’ as the pronoun in the beginning. ‘What you will take away from my brief presentation today is….’ Avoid ‘I’ . ‘What I am going to speak about today is….’
- Relax yourself before you start. Get in a good mood. Soften your face. Be friendly.
- Greet people before you start. Be the reception committee.
- Encourage them to say ‘yes’ in the first few minutes. I am sure we would all like to be better at public speaking wouldn’t we?
- Make sure you are open to enjoying the experience. Look forward to the presentation.
- If you have negative thoughts that cause you to become anxious, let them drift away. They will go back to where they came from as long as you don’t encourage them.
- Dress up a little for the occasion.
- Get there early and survey your surroundings. Stand at the front and practise your opening.
- Make sure you equipment works. Be ready for plan B when it doesn’t work.
- Say to yourself ‘ I deserve to do well today. I have done the work’.
- Just be you.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, a hero or heroine is a person who exhibits extraordinary bravery, firmness or greatness of soul in connection with any pursuit, work or enterprise. One who does brave or noble deeds.
Our society seems to value heroes and heroines who earn their status in a moment of valor. The lecturer who struggled with the armed student after having been shot twice. The person who ran into a blazing house to save a child.
We seldom define someone as heroic who has earned the status over a decade. How many moments in a decade?
In a newsletter sometime ago on my site I included…’A Poem’. It was written by a true heroine, Maree Bourke-Calliss. Maree had a stroke on 5th May, 1994 and has been ‘locked in’ her own body since. She can blink… nothing else. Just imagine being struck down suddenly with a stroke and only being able to blink. Hearing, thinking, feeling but not being able to move or communicate verbally with others.
The story has moved since she published her poem. Maree spoke at the CPA Conference in Adelaide a couple of years ago. She has written her story slowly and laboriously by blinking her eyes. The story was spoken by my wife, Hilary, who is an actor, speaker and singer. Maree’s family were there from Quambatook and Queensland. She had been preparing for months to tell her story to assist others to truly value themselves and their lives.
Let me quote a paragraph from her story just in case you didn’t see this.
“Be clear about who you are”
You have to have a purpose for being, not just a purpose for doing. Even though I cannot do all those normal activities you associate with living such as walking and talking, I have a big reason for getting out of bed in the morning. I have a purpose that is about achieving, doing the impossible, and challenging myself to go that little bit further everyday. I don’t wake up thinking about money or getting the car serviced or doing the grocery shopping or wishing that I had read that report on the weekend so work would be less pressure today – that’s the doing stuff and you know you’ll get to it sometime during the week.I wake up thinking about what will make a difference today, what I need to achieve, what I need to do to make this day worthwhile for those around me. It’s a waste of time and energy to act from a position of imprisonment. You must come from a position of resilience and learn to cope with everything that’s thrown at you. You know the saying “It’s not what happens to you that’s important…it’s what happens within you”. I am a worthwhile human being because I now know myself so much better and I love myself for who I am and not for how I look.
So, you have advice from someone who has earned the right to give advice by behaving heroically over ten years. Someone who was offered the choice of living or dying and embraced living. Maree lives a very full life with the ability to think and blink. Are you making the most of your life?
Do you have a job? Just a job, I mean, you do it for the money? If you won enough money, you would quit on the spot?
o you have a career? If you work hard and get your qualifications you will move a rung on the ladder. Maybe you will become a team leader or a manager. Who knows, one day you may even become the CEO.
Jobs and careers are mainly to benefit you, not the people that you serve. The focus is inward. The benefits are external – money, promotion, status. Often the expectations of a career are not met and retirement starts to look attractive. Imagine looking forward to the end of something that you have been doing for most of your life. You do feel relieved when a loud noise stops….for a short time. The people that I have met who are retired don’t seem as contented as they had planned to be.
What’s the alternative? How about a calling? A ‘calling’ or vocation is something that you believe that you are called to do. You are good at it and enjoy doing it and it helps others. You truly believe that this is THE job and that you were meant to be doing it. The money is not critical but the contribution you make IS. The person who is meant to directly benefit from your ‘calling’ is the person you are assisting. I have known taxi drivers, receptionists, sales assistants and guides at theme parks who seem to have a ‘calling’. It is easy to tell from their attitude that this is so much more than a job or a career. They want to help and obviously enjoy what they are doing. They are also good at what they do and get added enjoyment by displaying their skills.
What is your calling? What are you good at? Are you doing what you are good at as part of your working life? If a voice from the clouds told you what to do with your talents and working life, what would it say? Would it say ‘Stay in the Bank until you retire!’ or “Hang on for another ten years”.
Maybe this is the only life we get and is not a rehearsal for something else. It may seem risky to leave a perfectly secure job for a faint calling. Imagine the desperation of coming to the end and thinking ‘Why didn’t I do what I really wanted to do when I had the time?’
So get started on identifying what it is that you enjoy doing that will benefit you and others and has a sense of vocation. Of course we all need money to exist but you would do this ‘calling’ even if you were not paid because you enjoy doing it so much. Maybe the money will come if you truly identify what you are best at and do it for life.
I once sat with a man who was dying as he told me what he had not done with his life. Following your heart is not for a privileged few. Maybe it is for the courageous few.