Tuesday, November 27, 2007


This may sound highly unusual but I love to do public presentations. Whether it involves giving a speech, making a toast, or doing a presentation I absolutely enjoy speaking in front of crowds. Given I have a raspy, soft voice that is barely audible but I really like public speaking.

Nevertheless the problem with my oratory in public has to do with preparation. More specifically, I have a terrible time figuring out what to discuss and being sufficiently prepared for it. Rather than feeling petrified in front of the audience I become a wreck before appearing in front of a crowd.

Tomorrow I will be attending a luncheon at the Consulate General of Ireland located in midtown. I’m not completely sure if the event is related to the Physically Challenged Irish and American Youth Team though I suspect that something similar to what occurred in May could happen:

Though I was not told to prepare a speech I knew I had to have one ready just in case I was instructed to speak. Sure enough, after arriving to the ballroom where the luncheon was being held I was greeted with a bear hug by the charity’s director and subsequently instructed to speak to the audience soon after.

“I just want you to greet these kids and welcome them to the States and tell them a bit about yourself.”

“No worries, sir. I’ve had it all planned out for days.”

“Just make it short cause there’ll be a lot of things to do.”

“Trust me Bill. Everything’s under control,” I replied while recalling all the mistakes I had made in the previous year’s speech such as drawing blanks, forgetting my main points, and stammering terribly.

Though I was feeling terribly overanxious less than two days before speaking, I was inspired at the last second and things worked out very well.

Ideally I would have preferred to think of something entirely original and not base my possible speech on a song or a quote. However, desperation caught the best of me and earlier today I found what could be the ideal quote from Irish novelist Edna O’Brien:

“When anyone asks me about the Irish character, I say look at the trees. Maimed, stark and misshapen, but ferociously tenacious.”

After mentioning that quote I would go on to describe how that accurately describes the many disabled children aided by the charity over the years. Though they may not have all the physical capacities that others have, these children and young adults have the heart and determination to move forward and strive to become productive members of society. They do not ask for handouts or pity but rather the chance to contribute to themselves and others for the greater good of us all. They appreciate all the support and morale people like you provide for much like the trees that O’Brien alluded to these kids stand tall and blossom the fruits of their labor.

Wow. That felt like a mouthful.

I have a hunch that I’m definitely prepared for tomorrow.

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