Quick quiz for you: You're asked to get up and say a few words at a meeting. One of your tasks will involve introducing to the crowd some people you have never met. Do you...
a) get a list of the names of the people you'll be introducing so you can practice saying them and/or ask the person, "How do you pronounce your last name, please, Mr Mxyzptlk?"
b) wait until you're in front of a hundred people and go, "And now, I'd like you to meet our new assistant regional field manager, Mr. Phil Mis ...Mix ...Mixaplatik ...however you say it..."
If you're like the person I saw at a meeting the other evening, you did 'b' and that ain't so good. I don't think that any of you would be that way, though. You see, there is nothing sweeter to a person than the sound of his or her own name (unless their name is "Newt" or "Gingrich") and it only takes a second to check with them - someone - ANYone - and find out how to say it!
This person also committed the other cardinal foul in the Gettin' Up 'n' Speakin' game...printing out your "spontaneous, off the cuff remarks." Out here in the audience, we can tell you did that, because we are looking at the top of your head while you "talk" to us.
This is always the worst when someone writes themselves a joke into their script. Then they read, "It seems there were two men who went into a bar..." No, it didn't happen; it only seemed that way.
There is no need to print out what you're going to say. Listen, I know it's not easy for a lot of people to get up in front of a group and speak. It only takes practice, and you can't get that practice by sitting in the audience toying with your green beans almondine and twice-baked potato, so the thing to do is, volunteer, say you'll do it, practice a couple of times at home in front of the bathroom mirror and then do it with as much grace as you can muster. Keep your clothes on while doing so, in case you decide to follow the old advice about picturing all the members of the audience nekkid as jaybirds while you're talking to them. But you don't want to be in your birthday suit in the bathroom picturing all that, so put on some shorts and a t-shirt already, please.
Know what you're going to say and be confident when you get up there, and you'll do fine. We'll be out here in the audience, enjoying your remarks and picturing you buck nekkid.