American culture places a premium on the ability to speak confidently before a crowd. Career counselors will tell you it’s a sure path to professional success. Compelling speakers can achieve positions of power and wealth.
"Think of it like a planned conversation. You know where the conversation’s going…but you’re loose enough in the moment to make it up a little bit as you go along. You want to have 80 percent of it prepared and allow 20 percent to be spontaneous.”
The film director lost it on stage at CES 2014, reminding us how not to handle a freeze-up.
Bay’s first mistake was that he didn’t seem to have any of his lines memorized, relying instead on a teleprompter, so when the teleprompter failed, he wasn’t prepared to bounce back. Only later did he take to his blog to explain, “I got so excited to talk, that I skipped over the Exec VP’s intro line and then the teleprompter got lost. Then the prompter went up and down—then I walked off.”
Communication and behavior expert Deborah Grayson Riegel recommends memorizing at least the first three lines of your speech to “shift your brain out of panic mode and into memory-retrieval mode.”