Redressing verbal vomit

I speak too fast in certain professional situations.  At a public forum or event.  In a workgroup.  And I hate it.  I can predict it’s about to happen before it does, and I can hear it while it’s happening too.

Yet still I splurge words forth at an alarming, difficult-to-follow rate.

S-L-O-W

-I tell myself, concentrating on enunciation and pauses which feel like forever to me, like a wide open invitation for somebody to jump in and stop me – but which are actually completely natural, and help to engage an audience better than verbal vomit.

A woman halted me, mid-flow yesterday, during a small working group.  She was snidey and cold and not especially likeable, so it was easy not to be too affected by her snootiness, despite knowing she was right.

“Could you just slow down, and stop using so many acronyms?” she said, patronisingly.

“Could you look like you haven’t just got out of bed?” I didn’t reply.

Why do I find it so hard though?  The truth is weak confidence.  I expect to be interrupted, and soon, as soon as I begin to speak in such an environment.  So I feel compelled to empty my brain of all its stuff as soon as physically possible. Before I’m interrupted.

Given a platform where people do actually listen, afford time and respect, that still surprises me.  As I’m still unconvinced I’m worth listening to.

Where do I turn to lay deep-seated psychological blame?  The antithetical extrovert brother, who has always commanded attention since we were young children, (and now does so from a television screen, to mass audiences)?  My only sibling, two and a half years my elder, who I use too much and too quickly explain my character?

Possibly.

A chap at the same event, not too much older than me, addressed the whole room (of 60 or so) with a quick presentation / summation of group work, almost off the top of his head.  It was quicky, witty, smart.  He’s a self proclaimed nerd with long dark hair and a personal uniform of dark T-shirts and trousers.  But at that moment, how I envied him.

Explanations can be counterproductive anyway.  I may still have to address an audience of 150 or so at an event I’ve largely organised, in two weeks’ time.  So I should concentrate on me.  Try to galvanise from within.  Breed confidence incrementally and try to *believe* that I can control an audience of any size when speaking.  I can take my time.  There’s no rush.

Sounds good in theory…

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