Chapter 2: Bodies, Nerves, Delivery

“One of the hardest things to do when we’re simultaneously dealing with our nerves AND delivering our speech is to actually have the presence of mind to communicate with ourselves. We’ve quit counting the number of times students have asked us immediately after a speech, ‘What just happened?’ and ‘What did I just say?’ It’s almost like we’ve just experienced a six-minute cognitive blackout. Some sort of robotic doppelganger embodies us behind the podium and departs only once we return to our seats. Don’t fret: it’s happened to us, too. What is likely happening to us when this occurs is that we’ve given in to panic. And when we panic, as Malcolm Gladwell notes, we tend to think too little; in fact, we seem to quit thinking altogether! But thinking is precisely the response we need in such situations.”