Speeches

My mom had a very significant birthday today, so we kids threw her a party and invited a bunch of family and friends. Everyone had a great time — especially my mom, which is really the important part.

At some point in the festivities, each of us kids got up and gave a speech in tribute to our mom. My brother came up to me a few minutes before the speeches were to start, because he wanted to talk about the speeches we’d be giving.

“I wrote out an entire speech,” he said, “but I think I’m going to throw all of it out and just get up there and say something spontaneous.”

I had already come to the same conclusion. I had a few general ideas in my head of things I might say, but I really didn’t know just how it was going to come out. But I was confident that it would be ok, because it had to be ok.

So it was agreed. Each of us got up to speak without a script, saying whatever moved us.

And in both cases it worked out great. When I told people afterward that our speeches were improvised, they were shocked, since everything had gone over so well.

I gave some thought to this later in the day. Why is it that something you say in the moment and off the cuff can work better than a script that you had slaved over to get just right?

I’m not sure, but here’s a clue: If I’m a little surprised by something I say in a speech, maybe the audience will be too. :-)

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