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  • Writer's pictureJamie Gustafson

Public Speaking: Unveiling the Process Behind the Power

Updated: Jul 27, 2023

Public speaking can be a daunting experience. It's something I've done in the past and recently mustered the courage to do again. Failing in this task means failing in front of an audience, and now with video recordings, you can replay and analyze every moment, contemplating what could have been done differently. I've often wondered if some people are naturally gifted in this area or if they honed their skills through consistent practice, like any other muscle.

In his book, Kevin Hart discusses the challenges of performing stand-up comedy and the constant risk of failure. This resilience is a defining characteristic of comedians. Kevin's profound insights make him a valuable source of wisdom, and I highly recommend reading all of his books. I can't help but wonder if he still meticulously examines and questions every aspect of his stand-up routine to this day.

Over the years, I've discovered that standing up to start a speech gives me a rush of energy. It's as if I become overwhelmed with a desire to share, but doubts flood my mind once I finish. Did I really spend half an hour yelling at everyone? Did my words make any sense? Why was I chosen to speak? Am I truly an expert? What does it even mean to be an expert? These questions have raced through my mind countless times after a presentation.

Upon reflection, I have come to realize that after completing any significant project, I consistently engage in a thorough review to extract valuable lessons and explore new ideas. However, I have failed to incorporate a similar practice when it comes to crafting a speech. Instead, I treat the act of delivering the speech as the final step of the process.

As someone who values processes, I saw a speech as a completed event. This perspective led to frustration because I believed that I should deliver perfection and be done with it. However, I've come to understand that nothing is ever truly complete. I am committed to learning from each experience and expanding upon it through journaling. This allows the speech to evolve, breathe, and truly come alive whenever I engage with an audience.

Discovering this realization at 2:30 am brought a sense of tranquility to my heart. At that moment, I wholeheartedly dedicated myself, fully aware that the journey of crafting the speech was far from complete. It remains an ever-evolving process, akin to any artistic pursuit, and a testament to the value of embracing the process and appreciating the constant shifts that render it beautiful. The allure lies in the perpetual cycle of evaluation and adjustment.

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