Friday, January 1, 2010

Wax On, Wax Off Public Speaking

Yesterday, our family spent a delightful morning (re)watching the Karate Kid.

One of my favorite scenes in the movie was when Mr. Miyagi teaches Daniel LaRusso karate by having him do a series of seemingly endless chores. For each chore, he instructs to Daniel to use a specific arm motion over and over again.

Frustrated, Daniel wonders when he will ever learn "real Karate?"

Just as he is about to throw in the towel, Mr. Miyagi demonstrates that the very motions he used to sand the floor, wax the cars, and paint the fence were exactly the motions Daniel needed to effectively block any punch. Those hours and hours he had spent practicing and mastering those simple motions paid off in spades.

One of the lessons we can learn here is about the importance of preparation.

People often ask me, "How can I learn to speak on the spot?" There are no magic tricks to mastering this skill.

If you know your stuff, keep up on your reading, and walk into meetings assuming that you could be asked to speak, you will do just fine.

From the Green Room: Being prepared means knowing your area of expertise well enough so that you are able to speak comfortably about it at any time. Each time you enter a situation where you could be asked to say something, assume you will be and prepare accordingly. Keep doing it. Over time, this will get easier and easier.

Can't wait to see the remake this year...


Anonymous said...

My favorite scene too! Like Mr. Miyagi's training techniques, your blog offers a approach to public speaking that is both intriguingly quirky & highly effective. I really enjoy this blog.

Sarah Gershman said...

Thank you for your comment! I appreciate your stopping by.