Monday, December 21, 2009

An athlete decides to get a speaking coach

Picture this: You're an Olympic medalist and world-champion sprinter whose moves on the track are fast, smooth and polished by years of long practice. And now you want a coach...for public speaking? That's what Olympian Lauryn Williams decided after participating in a ceremony where she and other athletes received awards for their public service. In her blog post, "I want to be like Nancy Lieberman when I grow up," Williams shares her nervousness about speaking:
Speaking has been the little demon in my closet for my whole career and despite me pumping myself up because I wanted to do well, Monday was no different. I was to give a 2-3 minute talk accepting my award and explaining what inspires me to give. Sounds easy enough right???? WRONG!!! ....I didn't know what I could say that was going to be as appealing to the crowd and I was the only female. I certainly couldn't be outdone by 3 guys!!
Then Nancy Lieberman, the first woman to play professional basketball--who played with men, because a women's league didn't exist at the time--stepped up to speak. Williams was inspired:
I am vowing to make my improvement in this area a focal point this year. It was really encouraging when once things were finished two women came to me and said, “Your speech was great! If you had not told us how nervous you were or that you were going to be quick you would have nailed it right on the head.” I know I have some work to do as my job will require me to speak and I am up to the challenge of fine tuning my delivery...
It's a great lesson for all would-be speakers to take from a top athlete: When you need to improve a skill, see a coach. I'm available for Lauryn, or for you and your colleagues. In 2009, stay tuned for new Eloquent Woman workshops and resources, or contact me at info[at]dontgetcaught[dot]biz to find out more about training and coaching. (Photo of Williams with young fans from her blog.)

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