I'm not fond of speaking in front of a crowd. 3-4 persons, I can handle. Put me in front of an audience of 10 or more, I can be a quivering mess.
Recently, after dragon boat training, Coach took the novel route of asking everyone what/how they felt about the training that day. I was one of the last few to speak. Whilst the ball was passed around, I was actually struggling for something intelligent/thoughtful/encouraging to say. Not that I didn't have anything to say, just that I was constructing it right there in my head. Usually I'd have pen and paper plus the luxury of time to come up with stuff to say. However, this caught me wholly by surprise and after a day of rowing, your mind doesn't function too well, on a linguistic level.
Finally my turn came. Deep breath. What came out afterwards was a botched up attempt at motivational speaking. My voice shudderd with emotion, my lines that I rehearsed in my head all jumbled up, and people around me were straining to make out what I wanted to put across. Should've taken the easy way out and said that our rowing sucked big time that day, but that's not very peppy now is it?
I remembered hosting a wedding dinner once for my nice couple friends. It was a relaxed atmosphere, set at a Punggol Fishermen village pub. I had been asked to be the MC for the night, with the caveat that I had to be bilingual.
Now, Diana Ser I am not, but I gamely took the task by the horns. I flipped through Chinese dictionaries, watched and learned from the hosts on mandarin TV programs, even typed out the script with Chinese software! The big day came, I got all liqoured up to calm my frazzled nerves. Blessed with a bad sound system and a microphone that sputtered along, I was coming across more like a nervous clown than an MC. The fact that I had to switch languages every paragraph just made it more harder. Luckily, my assignment ended after the couple signed their 'contract', and I was back at the tables drinking myself silly again.
Did I say that practice makes perfect? I've been solicited to be the MC for redcocoon's wedding in Dec. Good news; I have a partner in crime this time. Bad news; said partner in crime doesn't speak mandarin. No clown costume this time, the traditional Chinese dinner is being held at a fancy-schmancy hotel banquet hall. Time to bring out that Prada suit and dust off the 'ol zi dian again ...
Hotel got dress code, clown costume not allowed!