Lighten Up, Will Ya?
Holly is an amazing lady I
have the good fortune of knowing! She’s a former
police officer, now turned entrepreneur, and she
attended one of my public speaking classes the
evening before I wrote this piece. Because of her
training in interrogation techniques as a police
officer, Holly tends to be a little rigid when she
speaks. She has a fun and loveable personality, but
when she stands before an audience, she turns into a
bit of a drill sergeant.
Holly stood in front of the
class, impeccably dressed with her suit jacket done
up, just as it should be when she’s speaking to an
audience. Then, Holly the drill sergeant began to
I asked her to undo her
jacket button, just so she could feel a little less
formal. She protested slightly, but she finally
complied, and began to loosen up a little. As she
was speaking, I had to interrupt her a few times,
and ask for Holly the lady to speak, instead of
Holly the drill sergeant.
Finally, after several
interruptions, Holly the lady broke free. All of the
sudden, there she was, the woman we’d all been
waiting for. Holly the lady began to speak. She told
us about an accident that had befallen her, when she
was trapped in an elevator as it fell six stories to
the ground. She finally became animated and
emotional, and it was so powerful that she had us
all captivated. She lightened up from her Holly the
drill sergeant persona!
Holly has a little more work
to do, because she slipped back into drill sergeant
mode after she finished the story, but that’s okay,
because now she knows how to lighten up, and it’s
going to profoundly improve her speaking skills.
So, what’s the lesson?
Lighten up when you take the stage. Your audience
will relate to you so much better if you’re just