Archive for April 2007

A Hot Potato

April 23, 2007

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I was asked to give another table topic, a short impromptu speech.

Great, a chance to prove myself. The last time I’d given a table topic, I’d gone off topic; I’d used a short anecdote and tried to work my speech around it. This time, I vowed I would use the topic of the speech itself.

And what was the topic?

I was asked by David to act as a reporter, but to report on an event of the past – the introduction of the potato by Sir Walter Raleigh.

Well, I started off on good ground – after a brief talk about drug smuggling (i.e. tobacco), I started talking about the huge impact potatoes have had on Scottish cooking – how we’d be lost without them.

And then….

And then, I floundered. I started talking about how I wanted to talk on-topic this time. I was talking about talking, about keeping on topic but not about the topic itself.

And I babbled on and on until the time was up.

While I may be the least informed appreciator of food, I see now that there were many things I could’ve talked about. I love chips, and baked potatoes are great. How about potatoes wrapped in tin foil and cooked in a log fire? Or the one meal I can actually cook, corned beef hash. Where would that be without potatoes?

As my Mother-in-Law is fond of saying, “We’re all generals after the war”.

Men Can’t Multitask

April 23, 2007

— THIS BLOG HAS MOVED —

This blog has moved to http://www.publicspeakingblog.co.uk. Please update your links!

Last week, I had 3 tasks to perform – yes, three!

First off, I was supposed to be timer. Then, at the start of the meeting, I was asked to step in as an evaluator for Pravin. Finally, I was called up to give a table topic.

Well, I um-ed and ah-ed about being an evaluator – I tried every which way to get out of it – but in the end, I gave way and said I’d do it.

So I found myself trying to do both main jobs, and I’m afraid I ended up doing neither terribly well. When Norman, the first table topics speaker, went up to speak, I was deeply engrossed in my preparation for the evaluation. I let poor Norman talk and talk, and it was only when he asked if the timer was still alive, and everyone looked around and laughed, that I actually realised I’d forgotten to start the clock!

How embarrassing!

Later, Paul called me up to give a table topics talk about swimming under water. I started by confessing I now know what it feels like to drown.