Appointments cast a shadow on the present. The day before, the week before, the aura fills my consciousness more than the practical aspects of the event itself. Anticipation transforms itself into worry–general, non-specific. Must be performance anxiety, I tell myself, and yet, and yet. Even when I’ve done this thing a hundred times before, there it is, staring me in the face.
So how to overcome this? Practice, not so much to make perfect because an artist knows nothing’s perfect; but performing at optimum–doing the very best you are capable of at this point in your career.
For several years now I’ve been using Toastmaster meetings as my laboratory to try out new ideas, new approaches, new communication skills. How to listen intently–not just what the speaker says, but how they say it, what exactly do they mean? Listening well is a skill as valuable as gold. When you’re a Grammarian, an Ah Counter, and Evaluator you get a chance to practice.
To learn more about Toastmasters go to: http://www.toastmasters.org/
Learning to speak in public is what brings most people to Toastmasters, but there’s more: learning and practicing how to run an event, to organize a contest, to run various aspects of a club and get members enthusiastic and participating–all wonderful ways to enlarge your sphere of influence.
Practice to enlighten others and you have the key to a brilliant future.