There are a lot of things I’m not good at. Too many, I might say. Far too often I fall into complacency with who I am and what I can do, which is completely counter-productive to achieving the goals I’ve loosely set for myself. Getting better at stuff is hard, and it takes focus, determination, and practice. Oh hey, there’s a new season of Breaking Bad approaching? Better marathon the whole series! Because that’s so much easier (and more fun) than doing something hard, like learning how a synchronous condenser attached to a wind generator system affects power quality and regulates voltage. See, you’re bored already, and you might even be thinking about how awesome Breaking Bad is instead.
I’m going to take this time to write about one of the things I need to improve, for reasons both professional and personal. Speech. Holy crap do I suck at speaking. My mouth moves and words come out sometimes, but most of the time it’s parts of words jammed together into incoherent verbal vomit that nobody, including me, can understand. And that’s how I normally am.
If you throw me in front of a few people, half of the time I say the same thing over and over again because my brain is stuck in a loop, and the other half it freezes entirely. Even in normal conversation, my vocabulary vanishes. I don’t know if it’s pressure to use the exact word I need to be accurate or what, but too often I’ll be stringing along a conversation and a black hole appears in my brain, and then noises come out of my mouth that aren’t words while I reboot. It also really doesn’t help that a certain person I work with (and unfortunately spend probably the most time with out of everyone I know) likes to pepper his speech with colorful words in place of commas. It used to rub off on me, but frankly it’s annoying and there’s no need for it.
Anyway, as far as my speaking goes, my brain just seems to move too fast for my mouth and my mouth is like “slooowwwww dooooowwwwnnn” but my brain KICKS IT WITH MY ENERGY LEGS! So to help solve my predicament, I need to try to speak slower and more deliberately, and maybe think before I dig myself into a verbal pit of despair. After all, it’s better to have people assume you’re an idiot than to open your mouth and confirm it. I’m slowly learning the art of holding my tongue and when it can be used most effectively. It’s like invoking the right to avoiding self-incrimination, but all the time! How fun!
I have found that the best speeches I’ve ever given concerned topics of which I was incredibly well prepared and rehearsed. Big surprise, right? Evidently the best way for me to be able to handle my inability to speak is to become an expert on whatever I’m wish to discuss. The lack of thoughts in my brain is simply due to not being sharply honed on topics. In short, to avoid looking and sounding like an idiot, don’t be an idiot.
It’s so simple, but for me it’s so hard. Things enter my brain and then they leave without saying where they’re going. They’re all scattered and unorganized. I’m getting better though. For example, I just had (whilst writing this very post!) a long phone conversation with a coworker in which I described to him certain assignments that I’d been working on over the past few months. I need to actively work toward this, but just gaining professional experience seems to be helping on its own. Also, I started this blog in part to focus my thoughts into coherent digestible bits. Mental organization is important, apparently.
Still, if all else fails, it’s always good to remember: hand them a sandwich. But don’t drop the sandwich. Also, don’t lock your knees. You know what happens when you lock your knees? You die.