Story Weekend: Public Speaking

diane lakewood closeupSunday afternoon, I’ll be speaking to a group at the West Regional Library in Cary, North Carolina (come join us if you can!). I was thinking about that talk this evening when I suddenly realized it’s time to write my Story Weekend blog post. So that’s the genesis of this weekend’s topic: Public Speaking.

The story that comes immediately to my mind happened back when I was a hospital social worker and still nervous about public speaking. I had to make a presentation to a room full of doctors and just before I stood up, I realized I was wearing one blue shoe and one black. Arggh. I bet some of you have better stories than that and I’d love to hear them. Tell us about your favorite—or least favorite—speaking experience…or the fear that keeps you from speaking in public at all.

If  you’re new to Story Weekend, here’s how it works: I pick a theme and you share something from your life that relates to that theme, however you interpret it. Thanks to all of you who’ve been contributing. As always, there are a few “rules”:

▪   The story must be true

▪   Try to keep it under 100 words. Embrace the challenge! That’s about six or seven lines in the comment form. I want others to read your story, and most people tend to skip if it’s too long. I know how tough it is to “write tight” but I hope you’ll accept this as a challenge.




  1. Sheree Gillcrist on February 16, 2013 at 8:57 am

    Ok I admit it. I am a bit of a ham and actually Love getting up before a crowd of strangers. I mean if any of them think that they could do it better wouldn’t they be on this stage instead of Part of one of my past lives was as a free lance journalist which got me a slot at a huge Folk Music Festival a mere 5 hours drive away. I dittered over my style of dress(gyspy skirt, jean jacket, long dangly earrings) I fussed with my hair so it looked like I hadn’t and I entered the Opera House and looked into a sea of faces I had never seen before and froze. The soundman was twisting knobs and doing whatever else sound men do when I said I can’t do this. He replied with a dead pan expression. Get your arse up on that stage because I am Not doing It was the longest walk of my life. Seeking solice in that sea of faces, I focused and there were All of my musician friends dotted amongst the crowd. All of them. They winked, they hooted, they exhaled so I could inhale their confidence and I was reborn. Got a stage. Need a speaker.I’m your gal:}

  2. Diane Chamberlain on February 16, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    “they exhaled so I could inhale their confidence”
    Wow! I love that, Sheree!

  3. Julie Kibler on February 16, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    Doing my first book tour stop at BookPeople in Austin tonight! Funny timing! I decided honesty is the best policy, always, so at my launch Tuesday, I got up there and started with, “I’m about to pass out. Did anyone remember the smelling salts?” 🙂 It actually ended up loosening everyone up–mostly ME!

    • Diane Chamberlain on February 16, 2013 at 1:48 pm

      I bet you did a fabulous job, Julie, and it’s only the beginning! Congratulations on Calling Me Home.

  4. kelly English on February 17, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    I love public speaking and for a couple of years I was a speaker for the Arthritis Society. Quite often I felt we were asked to speak as a break for the caregivers at Seniors Homes etc. The best example or worst as it might be, was a speech for a senior daycare. Most of the listeners had dementia or were short on sleep and turned off the hearing aids. One by one I watched the jaws drop and the chins fall to their chests. The ones with dementia were pretty elderly by even the group’s standards and spent the time they didn’t sleep talking to themselves. The entire speech was a great hit obviously. However I got a nice cup of cool tea and a dad’s cookie out of the hour and a half and did not have to answer any questions afterwards. Bonus!

    • Diane Chamberlain on February 18, 2013 at 1:35 pm

      lol, Kelly. That’s the spirit!

  5. Rob on February 20, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    Hehe. The one shoe blue. one shoe black story made me chuckle 🙂 Public speaking terrifies me, luckily I don’t have to do it in my job…

  6. JOYE on February 20, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    I was always a chatty-Kathy so when I became a high school teacher I loved speaking before my classes. However, one time I had to make a presentation before the school board members-then i had butterflies. I need not have worried-it turned out fine.

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