This past Thursday, I had to give an introductory speech in my Public Speaking class. Even with all my experience performing – talking to audiences, talking to producers, performing for audiences – I always get a little nervous. My palms start to sweat and it feels as if I’m suddenly losing my voice. Normal, right?
Anyway, I give the speech and it goes over well; a lot of the students listening were actually engaged and my teacher seemed interested. Although I received good feedback, for the rest of the day, I felt so anxious. In the rest of my classes that day – three more – I dropped my pencil in each. I very rarely drop my pencil. Usually, if I drop it, it’s by accident. But no, on Thursday, I was sitting in my math class, leaning back in my chair, with a pencil in between my fingers that I shook or laid across my knuckles, and I dropped it. I would drop it at the best time too: when no one was speaking. And OF COURSE – the pencil would hit off the table, then the chair, and then finally the floor. But the pencil wouldn’t just fall between my feet either – oh no, it would hit the floor and then roll behind the chair next to me where someone else was seated.
I’m not really sure why I was so out of it. I was probably just so pumped up about my presentation that when it turned out to not be as nerve wrecking as I suspected, my reserved nervous energy attacked me.
On another note about said “nervous energy,” if you ever feel as if someone is attacking you – challenging you with questions – try to leave the conversation as politely as you can. I don’t care who that person is. They will suddenly ask you a number of questions because you make them nervous, they are threatened or intimidated by you; they want to figure you out: “Why are you so smart?” “Why are you so beautiful/handsome?” “Why aren’t you depressed like me?” Seriously. Fuck them. What makes these conversations worse with these “nervous challengers” is that, once you finally defend yourself they have nothing to say to you: there’s a sudden ARC break.
An ARC break is a scientology term: “a sudden drop or cutting of affinity, reality or communication with someone or something” (Definition Source). For example, here’s a conversation that involves an ARC break:
Person One. Hey, what’s your favorite TV show?
Person Two. Oh! I love Family Guy. It’s like my favorite show!
Person One. Ugh. I can’t stand that show….
Where does the conversation go now? “Person One” literally ended the conversation just by bluntly disagreeing with “Person Two.” I don’t care if you can’t relate to a subject, at least try to talk around it. Try saying: “Oh wow, I’ve never watched that show but my friend Jen really loved that movie Ted. ” Look at that. “Person One” and “Person Two” are now potential best friends.
Isn’t it great when communication is actually successful?