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My freshman year in high school I had to give a speech in front of my class.  Before I began I looked out at my audience and saw bored, zoned out faces.  I knew no one was listening and no one cared what I said.  It seemed a waste of their time and a waste of my time.  After that speech I dreaded public speaking.    16489621_m

When I went into the Air Force, we were told to join Toastmasters so we could learn to be good public speakers.  Being a dutiful 2nd Lt. I attended one meeting.  The speakers did a good job, they spoke well, made their points but it seemed mechanical.  I didn’t feel engaged and I didn’t want to speak like that.

Several months later I was asked to participate in an event.  After I accepted I learned I had to make a speech in front of 200-300 people.  I was not thrilled.  The other participants and I discussed topics and most planned to give the typical and expected “why I went into the Air Force” or “what my country means to me” speech.  I knew these safe topics would get me through the speech but they didn’t excite me because they were so expected…

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