There are a few signs of a nervous speaker:
- The thirty second testimony - She can sum up every single important fact of her life in thirty seconds or less. It's possible, trust me. 😁
- Shaky knees - while it may look as though she is breaking out her groovy moves on stage, she's not. She just simply can't control the shaking. Now, if her hands are in the air like she just don't care, then that's another story.
- The glazed over look - She started the story she was telling, and then came the "um's" and the "uh's" as her eyes glazed over. That simply means that all words have flown out of her head and now her brain is screaming "speak words, woman, words"! Just smile and nod politely and eventually she'll find some words to say. They may have absolutely nothing to do with what she was previously saying, but at least it will be something.
- The back wall stare - If you're wondering if she is actually looking at any of you, no, she's not. Don't take it personally, though. She looks at the back wall because looking at faces may lead to thoughts of "why does that lady look angry? Did I say something wrong?" and then she will end up back at "the glazed over look".
- The voice quiver - She just told a story about a one-legged duck and for some reason her voice was quivering as if it was the saddest story she'd ever told. While some may cry over a one-legged duck, she is not one of them. When your nervous, your emotions are already heightened, so that one-legged duck hobbling along in life is just going to tear you up.
When we started deputation, I did not have a lot of speaking experience. I usually took the assistant role in classes, as opposed to teaching. I knew that would need to change, but I wasn't eager to make that happen. My first time teaching was a complete bust. I was supposed to fill a half hour to forty five minutes of a kids class, but after fifteen excruciatingly long minutes I had completely run out of things to say! Thankfully my husband was back there as well and he jumped in and saved the day for me. I only did slightly better the second time... or slightly worse. We were in VBS at our home church and my husband wanted me to teach the lessons to get more practice. The first day, I panicked in the middle of my lesson. I over heated and every word I had ever learned left my head. Again, my husband took over and I went out and got sick. Now, I would like to clarify that part of that had to do with the fact that I was eight months pregnant, but still it wasn't all that.
I am happy to report that the Lord has brought me a long way. I still do the "back wall stare" quite often, but the "glazed over look" doesn't generally happen anymore, and I try to make the "voice quiver" happen only in actual appropriate quiver moments. So how about you? What's your nervous tell?