Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Nerves of steel

This is a picture of Matt, he is one of my mentor students, at last nights mentor session he was interviewed live on a local talk radio station, this picture is him doing the interview on speaker phone during the mentor session.

As you all know I have an intense discomfort with public speaking, and I am unsure how much of my discomfort is because of the "public" nature of it, and how much is the scripted, or anticipation that I am going to be speaking to a group (as opposed to a spontaneous act.)

The reason Matt was being interviewed by this sports station was that last Thursday when he went to the Blazers vs Sonics game he was randomly asked to do some kind of a half time shooting baskets thing. (I don't know a lot about this, but I suspect most people do.) Any how he agreed and the task was to make 4 or 5 specific kinds of baskets (lay up, college 3 point, nba 3 point... I don't remember the others, I'm just trying to remember what he said) anyhow if he could make all these shots with in 30 seconds he could then do a bonus shot- a half court (as I understand it that is really hard.) He made all the shots including the half court in under 30 seconds! I gather this is terrific. The reason the radio station wanted to interview him is that all he won was a ten day car rental, and someone else was trying the same shots for a car. Apparently he is a local hero, and the fans want him to get a better prize.

OK here is the deal, Matt did a great job with the interview, but he was shaking, and I could empathize with him completley- I could see him feeling just the way I do when I "have to speak" his body was having its own reaction. He was able to pretty much spontaneously perform an amazing skill based feat in front of thousands of people in an exceptional fashion, but a phone interview with a local radio station made him nervous.

This has me really thinking that maybe the nerves are less about the size of the group and more about the expectation of performance having time to fester.

Type rest of the post here