In my adult years, it’s one the things give me the most satisfaction and rpide. The fact that I can now give a speech. While it may seem easy for me since I talk to thousands of viewers every morning, nothing makes me more nervous than having to give a speech. On TV, all you are doing is speaking to a camera – and if you think a joke is funny, the camera is not going to tell you otherwise. Giving a speech is very different since you actually speak to a group of people. People who will let you know just by their reaction whether you are bombing or not.
I have always tried to emulate my father when it comes to speaking in public. Whenever he spoke, he was well prepared, knew his subject and knew how to connect to the audience. After much trial and error, including speaking at my high school graduation, I think I have finally become adept at this art.
That doesn’t mean that there aren’t moments when I’m at a loss for words – and searching for the right thing to say. Case in point? Last night, I was the featured speaker at the John Fortney Pancreatic Cancer Research Fundraiser at Greensburg Country Club. John has battled – and survived this most insidious of cancers. This event was done to raise money for treatment and hopefully a cure from those that suffer from the disease.
I had a chance to spend time on the golf course with John the week before and got to know him and his struggle. It has not been easy for he or his family and John – who goes by the nickname of “Spider” – is an emotional person by nature. He spoke to the packed house before I spoke. His genuine feelings and emotions gripped me … and made my rethink my prepared remarks just moments before I took the podium. What resulted was about a 10-15 address which was more ad-lib than it was scripted address.
When I was done, I did not know how it was received. You know that brief moment that leaves you wondering whether the applause was genuine or just polite. One look at John’s face after the speech told me all I need to know. He seemed touched and thanked me for coming and sharing my message. He was one of several people who came up and said thanks.
And my message last night? That was provided by a statement John made to me last week while we were golfing and getting to know one another an I was agonizing over my score and whether I was having a good day on the links. In John’s words, “Everyday that I get to play golf is a good day”.
Words to live by. Perfect words to start a speech with.