Written & Contributed by Bill Boulton
of The Speaking Husky
“I have faced it, a life wasted and I’m never going back again.” – Pearl Jam
I wasted a few decades of my life.I was sleep walking. Here’s why—I was afraid of what “they” might think. It was as if I were on an assembly line where some skilled mechanics had installed my lower body, and then the skilled mechanics bolted my upper body in place. Next, the expert mechanics put “what they thought” into my brain, and the fear of what “they might think,” if I went against what “they wanted me to do.” In the words of the Saints and poets of many cultures and creeds, I needed to “wake up.” To the possible horror of a Saint or 83, I “woke up” at a Doors Of The 21st Century concert. When my blog launches, I will tell you the full story, and no… I was not on any drugs, legal or illegal. :)
When I woke up from my nightmare, I realized that I knew what I wanted to do with my life. After I wiped the sleep out of my eyes and drank a cup of strong tea, I began learning everything I could about the communication arts. After giving many speeches for my Toastmasters group, several community groups, and training with motivational speaker, Kevin Bracy, a protege of Les Brown, I’ve learned to share from my heart, despite what “they might think.” Here’s a few things I’ve learned that will help you move your heart from your chest, to your mouth, and out into the world.
“If you are serious about being a great communicator, you should join Toastmasters.” – Kevin Bracy
My ultra-brief paraphrase of Malcolm Gladwell’s excellent book, Outliers, is this – “Practicing whatever your passion is helps you get close to perfect, and 10,000 hours of practicing your passion makes you damn near perfect!” Toastmasters is the best place to do the practice that will make you a great communicator. In Toastmasters, point of view isn’t relevant. Constructive suggestions for improving speeches are given based on presentation not opinion. This no judgement of opinions rule helped me learn to say what I believed no matter what “they might think.”
“A man only learns in two ways, one by reading, and the other by association with smarter people.” – Will Rogers
Here’s how I apply the wisdom of Will Rogers to my speaking—I watch many videos on YouTube of speakers whom I would like to emulate. Here are a few of the smarter speakers I hang out with: Martin Luther King Jr., Senator Robert F. Kennedy, Steve Jobs, and President Barack Obama. Who inspires you? Mother Teresa? President Ronald Reagan? Paul Hawken? Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher? Bill Gates? Someone else? It doesn’t matter who it is as long as the speaker is positive, and the speaker inspires you! :)
“If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln
All of us have spent our “four hours sharpening our axes” on something close to our hearts. You may want to ask yourself this question—What is the speech that I have spent all my life preparing for? Below this post, I have included links to three speeches that I believe are great examples of life preparation message speeches.
If I can help you, please let me know. I am always open to a great conversation about the communication arts. Was April 4th-5th, 1968 one of the greatest 24 hours of public speaking in the last century? I think it was. :)
1968 – Martin Luther King’s Prophetic Last Speech
Robert F. Kennedy On The Death Of MLK
Robert F. Kennedy On The Mindless Menace Of Violence