I might not be the world’s best public speaker but neither am I the worst.
The Swedish school system does a fairly good job of making you get up and embarrass yourself in front of your peers and I remember one time presenting evidence to my fellow class mates that there was extraterrestrial life base on this book I read by a crackpot German “scientist”. Needless to say I was laughed out of the room but at least it prepared my for things to come.
I have always admired those people who just look at home on a stage in front of an audience. They make it look easy and funny and draw you into their world with nothing but a mic and the occasional image or two. I remember hearing a quote along the lines of “The most interesting thing in the world is a man with a microphone” and I agree. Countless are the times I have watched, and re-watched stand up comedy show by Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, Bill Hick and so many others and found myself laughing at the same jokes all over again.
But for some reason for a long time I thought this skill was something that you are born with. You know, that feeling that some people are just born to do certain things. Little did I know that it takes an immense amount of training to deliver a joke with the right rhythm and timing and that there is a skill behind it all.
Comedians are experts both at public speaking and at conversation in general. If you have ever spent time with any, and as long as they are not depressed at the time, perhaps you know what I mean. They pick up on your queues and laugh at your jokes and just generally make you feel like you too can be funny. I have been fortunate enough to spend time with some and it has been a real learning experience.
At the same time I have always liked to challenge myself to do more and better and I think the only way to do that is to push yourself out of your comfort zone. I have taken speaking requests both at my company as well as the embassy and other public events.
But this time it is something different…..
I was approached by a fellow Swede to do a talk-show (for an hour to boot) in front of a live audience of close to 300 in Japanese and without thinking too much about it said yes.
I know she will teach me a lot and hope that I can add at least something to the conversation.
At least the topic is about Sweden!