Saturday, May 25, 2013

Quit slouching! Part One.

At work recently, I had the opportunity to view myself speaking in front of (most of) the company about an hour after I'd done the speaking.

When the memory is that fresh, watching a video is incredibly powerful.

I've always liked public speaking... the baby of the family often does. I mean, hey, we never got the gavel growing up! So to command attention and be able to say your say - it is enjoyable, it is fun, and I've never been too afraid of it.

That said, I am also new to this job and company. And I don't want to be a pushy know-it-all, so in my head, I was speaking in a consciously unintimidating way. I was casual, I was calm, I was asking for people's attention but not demanding it. I had something to say, but I wanted to invite you in, too, to ask questions and feel comfortable, not dominated by a gaudy speaker.

Well. Well well well.

One hour later, I watched the video with this experience-memory vivid in my mind. And lo and behold, no amount of "projecting casualness" is going to come from this woman. I am, to the slight disappointment of that gendered-shy-feminine-fragile piece of my Self, undeniably authoritative. No amount of tucking my chin down, no amount of peeking out the tops of my eyes, no amount of shrugging or smiling is going to convince anyone I'm not in charge. I clearly am, on that video, and frankly, I'd be all those other things I'm going for - likable, affable, funny, charming - if I just listened to my mother and grandmothers, and "Stood Up Straight!"

If I threw my shoulders back,  lifted my chin, and really spoke - I could actually be great at this public speaking thing, and not just decent. Whether or not this qualifies as a realization, or as a blog-worthy piece of self-awareness is up to you. But before you weigh in, try it. Record yourself in front of an audience and then watch it just as soon as you've had a little snack and a walk around the block. You might be shocked at what you find!

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