Friday, November 27, 2009

Beginner mind

At a local business meeting, I won a short consultation with a speech coach. The timing was good, as I will soon be giving a short speech at a friend's significant birthday celebration.

I was a bit nervous about testing out my speech with the coach as I teach speech writing and oral presentations at the college level. What would the coach say about my skills? Do I really know what I'm talking about in the classroom or am I just a fraud?

I forged ahead, not wanting to mess up - at any level. I wrote a draft of the speech, I practised it a few times. I went to the appointment. And I experienced a huge rush of satisfaction from being in the student seat instead of the teacher seat with this topic.

What a relief and a joy to simply give myself over to an expert and receive her comments on my content and performance. The coach gave me her undivided attention and honoured me with a critique of my content and performance.

The result? I am more confident as I approach the giving of this particular speech. And, maybe more importantly, I have been reminded of the value of approaching an expert with 'beginner mind': go as a prepared and willing student, open yourself to critique, be vulnerable, sit tall in that student seat and receive the teaching of an other.

1 comment:

wizardofwords said...

Excellent philosophy! That's what I love about Toastmasters. Have been a member since 2001 and am always learning - and helping fellow members advance their skills. If we stop learning, we may as well stop breathing.