Friday, February 10, 2012

The Connection Between Racing and Presenting

If you've ever been to one of my presentation you may get the impression that I am in a race of some sort as I tend to speak very fast. The tempo with what I speak is not an accident but at the same time there is no race going on. I do realize some people may have a hard time following my words since they are going to fast, but it beats the alternative.

In conversations, as far back as I can remember, I have always had a fast pace when I am actually having a conversation that I'm participating in. For me that pace never seemed odd because that's how fast my mind is actually going. A lot of times I would actually combine words without any space between just because my brain was working that fast.

Why does it go that fast? I did mention at the start that speed beats the alternative and the alternative is this; if I go slower I will begin to think about what I am doing and saying and if I do that my words....... are........going to........ slow........ WAYYYYYYYYYYY...... down.

It's always been that way in my life. In a conversation I am either fully comfortable and speaking fast or taking to long to think about what to say and by the time I try and talk the window closed and I retreat back into processing. Public speaking is no different and if I don't speak fast I will begin to analyze what I need to say, what I should have said, and what the possible reactions to my line to come will be.

Now, I know you are probably wondering what my title for this post means considering I mentioned that there is no race going on when I present. The connection to racing is that, when I am presenting, I am in that same zone that I go to when I race. In real life, or on any racing game, I am fastest when I don't think about what I'm doing. When the conscious mind turns off and it just happens without thought that is when the fastest times come. If I have to think about what's going to happen in the next corner and what I need to do, well, nothing good comes from that. So too is this concept true with speaking.

I have to admit that I now put zero thought into my presentations when I do them. Much like a race track that I've had 10,000 laps on I can do it without thought. Don't get me wrong, my presentation is always changing with a new story here or a new experience there, but there is no actual thought as to what I should say or when I should say. If I ever get to that point, and it happens occasionally should I get distracted somehow, it can take me several seconds to get back on track and maybe a few minutes before I enter that zone of working in the subconscious.

Many times I have written about my struggles of open-ended conversations and in my various book writings I've always stated that one-on-one conversations are doable for me, but if a third person joins in I tend to shut down. I believe one of the reasons for this is the same concept in this post; with another person comes more to analyze and from that I will over process and be chained within my own mind.

So yes, if you have or will ever see my presentation I will apologize right now because speaking fast is something I must do. I am aware of it, but if I were to slow down I would be flooded with fear, anxiety, and a nasty case of the "what do I say next?" bug because I would be thinking too hard. This too is why I think I get so exhausted after a presentation because I am having to put so much energy to stay at that pace. Again, I know it can be annoying to hear me speak so fast, but if I were to slow down I don't know who much sense I would make because I wouldn't be able to make sense of what I should say next.


  1. Heh, I'd love to have a smooth conversation with you. Nobody would be able to follow us, since I speak way too fast too. :P

  2. Have you ever think that your love for RedBull Cola could be a precursor?

    I am just saying that is because I love having an occasional drink of coffee. However, when I know I will be in clinical settings or when I have to make presentations, I avoided it at all cost! Caffeine can really drive up your anxiety levels, as my clinical psychologist has told me. So, she quickly suggested some alternatives such as Gatorade, Powerade, or any similar drinks. Since that suggestion, I have become much better in pressure situations because my anxiety levels have reduced.