Have you ever had that ‘exciting’ experience of speaking in front of a crowd of people and found yourself stumbling to find your words. Or maybe you tried out for a role in a major production and was rejected because you didn’t have the look. Well, guess what? I have experienced both.
Some years ago, I was invited to be the keynote speaker at a youth graduation ceremony. The original speaker had cancelled at the last minute and I was asked to speak two days before the event (panic attack, right?). For those two days, I stressed about what to say and what to wear. Literally minutes before I was introduced to speak, I was still writing down notes to my speech. As I gave my speech, I was stumbling over my words and I could see I was losing my audience. My speech was disorganized and all over the place. I completely bombed.
At the end of the speech, the audience gave me mercy applause and then I had to turn and face the person who had invited me to speak. I felt I not only embarrassed him, I embarrassed myself. At that moment, I just wanted to crawl under a rock and hide. I sat there wondering why I had allowed myself to foolishly accept the offer to speak with just two days of preparation. I beat myself up during the entire drive home feeling frustrated and sad. However, by the time I got home, I made the decision to not accept defeat. I took a hot shower, said a prayer and sat in the middle of my bed and rewrote my speech using what I considered to be a fool proof method. I called it my Top Ten Speech. I took ten important points and wrote my speech around them using the countdown method.
So from that day, I knew if I had to do a speech with little preparation time, I could use the top ten method (I mean, who doesn’t love a top ten list?) It’s engaging, its informative, its simplistic and best of all, you know when its going to end. Audiences typically have short attention spans and the can get frigidity and bored when they don’t know how long a speech is going to be. So, if you ever find yourself in a bind with trying to come up with a quick easy way to wow your audience, try using the Top Ten Count Down Method. Always remember, just because it doesn’t work out the first time, doesn’t mean you have to give up! This is your opportunity to turn defeat into a testimony of success.
Another time I faced defeat was when I tried out to be a runway model (stop laughing). It was for a college fraternity fundraiser while I was a student at Texas A&M. The fraternity was looking for women to model clothing donated by a local department store. Excitedly, I ran back to my dorm room and found my cutest outfit and stood in line with the other girls who were trying out. I watched in amazement as some of the other women were strutting their stuff like runway models. The DJ was playing fun hip hop music and the models walked and twirled to the beat of the music in their beautiful outfits. Then it was my turn, I was visibly nervous and totally out of my comfort zone. I had never done anything like this before but I was excited and anxious. Just as I hit the stage and started walking, the DJ changed the music to a Rock song.
I’ll never forget the song. It was Black Cat by Janet Jackson. For some reason, I couldn’t find the rhythm of the song and I just froze. Eventually, I started walking but my legs felt like they were stuck together. I looked out into the audience for support and mostly everyone was looking down. I started to feel out of place and embarrassed. After I finished the walk, I noticed the other girls were giving me the look of “I don’t even know why she tried out.” Needless to say, I didn’t get invited back to be a model for the show but I didn’t let that stop me from participating. I later spoke to the show director and asked him if I could volunteer backstage as a stagehand and he said yes.
So instead of sitting back defeated, I volunteered to assist the crew. The show was a success by the way! So, the moral of the story is you may not get the lead role at first, but you can still play a part in the production. Just say a prayer for guidance and try again. Trust and believe, you will be ready the next time! Stay Ready and Stay Positive!Tell me about a time you turned your defeat into success!Email this