Thoughts on life, leadership and the movement called the church by Brian C. Hughes, Senior Pastor

by Brian C. Hughes, Senior Pastor

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Valuable Speaking Lesson

This post could be slightly gross. Not trying to make anyone nauseous, but I learned a valuable lesson Sunday. I've been speaking publicly now for over ten years, I never learned this. Guess it's one of those lessons they don't teach in class and you just kind of have to find out the hard way. If you were in the first service Sunday, you got to experience the consequences! I thought it might be valuable to a few folks.

When I walked out onto the stage, my voice was strong. I had many years of training in projection, diction, etc., so I know how to make my voice get where it needs to go. But a couple of minutes into the message, while I was talking, I swallowed - which we all do naturally from time to time, even when we're not drinking anything. In this case, not all of it (the saliva - just to be explicit) went down the right tube. A miniscule drop of spit got slightly hung up. No big deal. In any normal setting, I would have just swallowed again, cleared my throat and it would have been fine. But I was in the middle of speaking and I thought, "well, you don't want to seem rude or gross anyone out by hocking up right here on stage. Just let it work itself out."

It didn't.

The more I talked, the worse it got. It was like putting a lid on my voice and screwing it tighter and tighter. The longer I talked, the more faint my voice was...every minute it was harder and harder to talk. Of course, at some point, I decided that I had to clear my throat, but by that time it was too far gone. Two different people brought bottles of water to the stage, and - THANKFULLY - there was a video in the middle of my message. I took the opportunity to suck down all the water I could and hack up all the junk I could and regain some composure.

I don't get distracted by much, but this really threw me. It was hard to focus on the message - I was so worried I would lose my voice altogether.

So, it was a lesson well learned. You could say it was a tough pill to swallow :-) Next time, I'll just clear my throat!


jf said...

That was only saliva? It sounded like you swallowed a hamster or a small squirrel.

Brian C. Hughes said...

I can assure you that it FELT like a hamster or a small squirrel!

Anonymous said...

haa.. things like that make me want to come back, couldn't ignore that like the guy running on stage behind you years ago...