Standing Alone
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As an introvert, I usually do not mind being alone. I actually enjoy it, because it gives me time to think, it gives me some personal space, and it allows me to do something that I want to do, rather than simply following the group just to be polite. However, there is one time when standing alone is really awkward for me: when I am put on the spot at a meeting.

I remember a meeting I attended many years ago where the person in charge put me on the spot and asked me to speak to the group about an event that my friends and I had recently attended. While I was at the event, I did not know that I was going to be asked to speak. Therefore, at the meeting, I was caught off guard. I was definitely not prepared to speak to the group.

This situation would have gone much better and would have been much less awkward if the person in charge of this group had pulled me aside before we all took off to inform me that she wanted me to speak about the event at the upcoming student council meeting. She wanted me to talk about what I had learned from the experience. A heads up would have been much appreciated, and I would not have fallen on my face.

I know that it is not always possible to get a heads up in real life, however. Impromptu speeches do happen. With this type of speech, as with any other, people are expected to be able to be able to speak smoothly and naturally for the specified amount of time. Speech teachers like impromptu speeches because they like to see how students think on their feet. They want them to be able to give a speech that they did not rehearse.

For instance, a speech teacher might ask a student to talk about his experience publishing online. In this speech, the student would be expected to talk about what he likes about the online publishing experience, such as being his own boss. He might talk about how great it is to keep his own hours and to write on what he wants to write on, rather than what an editor asks him to write.

He might also talk about the pitfalls of this type of work, like writer’s block and the occasional inability to publish due to Internet problems caused by bad weather.

Hopefully, the next time I attend an event, such as a retreat or charity walk, I will remember this awkward experience, so that rather than hoping for the floor to open up and swallow me so that I can disappear and avoid embarrassment, I will expect to be asked to talk about what I did. Then I will feel better, and I will have a better experience all the way around.


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