Speakers Need to “Feel That Juice”

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When Tiger Woods teed off in the first round of the 2015 Memorial Tournament at the Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio on Thursday, his drive off the first tee marked the 307th time he has started a round in a PGA Tour event. So, would we assume that he no longer feels the jitters when he is about to hit his first shot? By now, hasn’t he become the proverbial “cool, calm, and collected”?

In an interview afterward with Tim Warsinskey of The Plain Dealer newspaper, Tiger commented:

“Oh, I always get nervous,” He added: “That’s great. And the day I don’t feel nervous on the first tee is the day I quit. That means I don’t care anymore. I want to feel that juice on the first day.”

SOLID LESSON FOR SPEAKERS
What Tiger Woods said provides a solid lesson for speakers. When I provide Speech Coaching for clients, one of the first questions I hear is, “Can you help me get rid of my stage fright?” I explain that while many speakers think that stage fright is a totally negative experience, fear of the audience and the speaking situation enables us to “feel that juice” Tiger Woods described. Advantages:

–We prepare more thoroughly, to reduce our tension.
–We look and sound energetic.
–We become less rigid and more mobile.
–We ignite our audience, since enthusiasm is contagious.

So the next time you start shaking at the thought of your speech that’s minutes away, recognize this means–to borrow Tiger’s language again–you care. Realize, too, that your anxiety matches what a teacher feels on the first day of class, a novice sales professional senses when she approaches an appointment, and the new employee feels entering his office.

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To hear more about stage fright and to listen to other valuable strategies that will help you generate the “attention, agreement, and action” you want as a speaker, order my Audio CD, “How to Speak with Poise, Power, and Persuasion.” You’ll find this and other CDs on my Web site:

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Suddenly, I Admire Tiger Woods

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I’m surprised, even amazed. Why? Suddenly I admire Tiger Woods.

Not for what he is able to do with a set of golf clubs, like these shiny irons in the photo. In fact, his golf has turned from mastery to misery and mystery. Yesterday he shot 82, the highest round of his professional career–and finished dead last in the Phoenix tournament.

Yet even though his skill has taken a prolonged and unpredictable leave of absence, I admire him for what he said in talking with the press afterward. He faced failure gracefully. His words:

“We all have days like this.” Rather than making excuses or complaining, he added: “We take the good with the bad, and the thing is, even on bad days like this, just keep fighting.” Additionally, “On the good days, you’ve got to keep fighting as well.”

Summing up: “Still got a lot of work to do.”

For years, I disliked Tiger’s arrogance and other character flaws. I wanted him to lose his number one ranking. I laughed when his scores soared, along with his temper.

Now Tiger has turned me from critic to cheerleader.

Do you join me in applauding his reaction, which we can apply to bigger disappointments in our own lives?

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