What an exciting day I had this week! I had a slot on the radio!
It all started with a tweet a few weeks ago to BBC Surrey. I asked them if they covered Farnham and if I could talk about Farnham Speakers Club which had just been launched. Nick Wallis asked me to email him and told me that he was interested in me coming in to talk. Then it all went quiet.
At the end of last week an email arrived from the Breakfast show’s producer Jack Fiehn asking if I come in this week. Yay! I was thrilled and excited and a little bit nervous. I had never been into a radio studio before and now I was going to be speaking about public speaking. What happened if I sounded really nervous or filled my speech with filler words? A definite no-no in the Toastmaster world! I had once been on the radio as a spokesperson for my children’s school’s PTA. That time I had been in my bedroom speaking on the phone. This time was different: I was going in to a studio with a presenter and encouraging people to gain confidence through public speaking!
I had a chance to do a dummy run at the Guildford Speakers Club meeting the night before the radio slot. There are a number of advanced manuals that you can do after you reach your Competent Communicator level at Toastmasters and the Public Relations Manual was perfect! The second project was the Radio Chat Show. It involved a role play with a “host of a radio show”. I had to prepare a short speech about promoting the organisation (Farnham Speakers Club specifically and Toastmasters International in general), followed by a question and answer session. It was not allowed to be rehearsed! In addition, my boyfriend phoned me up at lunch-time and fired questions at me as extra preparation.
When I spoke to the show’s producer he had mentioned that Nick wanted to speak about what made a good speaker, so I focussed my short talk on that at the club evening. What was flattering was that most of the audience hadn’t realised that I had no idea what the questions were going to be and had thought we had rehearsed the Q & A section! I had done as much preparation as I could.
Driving to my interview in the morning, I listened to the show only to hear that a public speaking coach was coming in. The expert was going to give a nervous speaker who was in the studio a five minute speech makeover and everyone would be able to hear the results. Gulp!!! No pressure!
I arrived at the studio and was shown in. I was supposed to be kept apart from my nervous guinea pig. Wendy Amos had made the mistake of replying to a tweet that BBC Surrey had sent out the night before. They had asked for any nervous speakers who would like some hints and tips. At 7 am she had been asked if she could come into the studio, not realising that she would be speaking. She was asked to write a one minute introduction for herself that she would normally use when she was networking, including some topical information. I had to fight against my instincts to calm her down. Wendy had been given a brilliant opportunity to promote her business on the radio and despite her obvious anxiety she was ready to play!
I sat there and thought about how much I liked a challenge! The one thing I have always loved about NLP is the speed that you can do things. I had experience of coaching, experience of networking and experience of mentoring speakers through Toastmasters. I knew that the quickest change I could make was changing her state from being nervous to feeling calm. I also knew that breathing makes a big difference to your nerves and your voice!
We watched the clock! When we were called in, we were shown into the studio and met Nick Wallis. It seemed as if we barely had time to sit down, position ourselves next to our microphones, put on our headphones and we were on! Nick introduced us and asked me a few questions about Farnham Speakers Club and Toastmasters International and then introduced the social experiment. Wendy had to read her introduction that she would use networking then it was over to me to give her some hints and tips.
My coaching mode kicked in and by calming Wendy, I relaxed. It is amazing where you pull inspiration from. Nick was featuring all time favourite speeches as a build up for me coming in, which made me think of John F Kennedy and a story I had been told in my Master Practitioner course about his speech coach, so I used that. I had recently written a blog “I and you” which was about the use of you to connect with the audience, so I used that. We were then given a minute while they had the traffic report to “Rewrite” the speech. Obviously, it is impossible to rewrite the script, so we quickly changed the order of the networking pitch. Given a few minutes, I would have got her to change most of her “I” statements to “you” statements, but there was no time! So all I could do was get her to relax as much as possible before she delivered her second version. She sounded and looked so much more confident when she delivered it. Yay! Nick played applause and it was all over!
The producer was very pleased with how it had turned out. Wendy is planning to come along to Guildford Speakers because she lives close by and she popped along to my networking meeting this morning. It was great fun and I am ready for the next time! Does anyone want to interview me?If you would like to hear the radio show click