Ad-lib

Check out today’s Teatime Titbit: Wonderful Wednesday Words: Ad-lib.

I don’t know about you but holding a presentation or speech in front of a large audience is the most nerve-wracking of experiences. The nightmare of fluffing one’s lines, drying up or having a mental blackout is ever present – at least for me – in the run up to the big day. How should one prepare for the speech, in meticulously great detail or on the fly and wing it on the day? “Doing something on the fly” means quite literally to do something quickly (often while something else is happening) and without thinking about it so much. “To wing something” is slang English meaning to” ad-lib” your way through it or as we also say “off the cuff”. I certainly know my preference as far as prep(aration) is concerned, but I’m always on the lookout for new techniques to calm nerves to pass on to my workshop participants &, of course, for ME too.

I don’t know about you but holding a presentation or speech in front of a large audience is the most nerve-wracking of experiences. The nightmare of fluffing one’s lines, drying up or having a mental blackout is ever present – at least for me – in the run up to the big day.

How should one prepare for the speech, in meticulously great detail or on the fly and wing it on the day? “Doing something on the fly” means quite literally to do something quickly (often while something else is happening) and without thinking about it so much. “To wing something” is slang English meaning to” ad-lib” your way through it or as we also say “off the cuff”.

I certainly know my preference as far as prep(aration) is concerned, but I’m always on the lookout for new techniques to calm nerves to pass on to my workshop participants &, of course, for ME too.

Hence my QOTD today is: What nerve calming techniques do you swear by?

nerve-wracking (nervenaufeibend), nightmare (Albtraum), to fluff one’s lines (den Faden verlieren), to dry up (steckenbleiben), to have a mental blackout (einen Filmriss haben), everpresent (allgegenwärtig), in the run-up to sth (im Vorfeld), meticulously (akribisch), to do sth on the fly (etw aus dem Hut machen), “to wing something” (etw aus dem Hut machen), to ad-lib (improvisieren), “off the cuff” (aus dem Stegreif), to be on the lookout for sth (sich nach etw umtun), to calm one’s nerves (seine Nerven berühigen), hence (daher), to swear by sth (auf etw schwören)

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2 thoughts on “Ad-lib

What definitely helps: chocolate!

Hm, actually I don’t have any advice for you. Prior to an important presentation I’m always on the verge of a heart attack. What helps to survive (I’m still nervous then, so I can’t call it “cool down”) is the knowledge that a disastrous dress rehearsel can be considered as a good sign and that there’s no need not to trust in my competence because there has never been any presentation that wasn’t good. Even when software and/or hardware striked, I dropped my notes right at the beginning, the topic of my speech was changed spontaneously, etc. I always enjoyed my presentations (after the first minutes had passed ;-P) and was satisfied with my performance. So, why should the upcoming presentation break ranks?! Breath, relax, everything will be fine. It’s just another presentation, nothing earth-shattering. Besides, some ad-libbing can be the icing on the cake and can turn your performance into something (even more) special that’s kept in mind by the audience as both entertaining and brilliant.

Wow, I was hoping beer might be a remedy for nerves before a presentation, but I’ll take chocolate too – thanx. I always advise that it doesn’t matter if you miss something out, cos most of the time the audience don’t know your speech anyway, but the perfectionist in us wants to get it word for word perfect and that is often one of things that cause anxiety – am I going to fluff my lines?

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