Can You Compare Great Speakers to Great Criminals?

About twenty minutes ago I was driving to work when out of the bushes and into the middle of the road jumped two Swiss Policemen in bullet proof vests, they practically stopped my car with their bare hands. They wanted my permit and papers NOW. My hands were shaking, and I couldn’t think while I fumbled around to find my documents. Geez, I couldn’t even speak and as far as I could tell I hadn’t done anything wrong (I was even driving 10 km UNDER the speed limit at that point).

The night before last I was standing in Nestle’s HQ in front of 25 corporate leaders there for a workshop of a network we are coordinating. For the first 5 minutes, a similar thing occurred, a blast of nerves and a random connection between my brain, speech and hands. We were prepared, everyone was there, and the environment was fantastic, no clues there.

It strikes me that good speakers and perhaps good criminals have this figured out. What kind of mind exercises can you do before you go to face great authority to avoid momentary multi-sensory collapse? It doesn’t happen to me very often any more, I think my estimation of authority is changing as I get older, but when it does it is memorable and certainly something to work on.

It turned out to be a random police check (with lots of NYPD Blue drama added in), and the Nestle event smoothed out a few minutes later, but for that initial “Oh no!” send in your tips!

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