What are these priceless secrets that I have beendangling beore your eyes? Just this: talk aboutsomething that you have earned the right to talk aboutthrough long study or
experience. Talk aboutsomething that you know and know that you know.Don’t spend ten minutes or ten hours preparing atalk: spend ten weeks or ten months. Better still,spend ten years.
Talk about something that has aroused your interest.Talk about something that you have a deep desire tocommunicate to your listeners.To illustrate what I mean, let’s take the case o GayKellogg, a housewie rom Roselle, New Jersey. GayKellogg had never made a speech in public beoreshe joined one o our classes in New York. She wasterried. She eared that public speaking might be anobscure art ar beyond her abilities. Yet at the ourthsession o the course, as she made an impromptu talk,she held the audience spellbound. I asked her to speakon “The Biggest Regret o My Lie.” Gay Kellogg thenmade a talk that was deeply moving. The listenerscould hardly keep the tears back. I know. I could hardlykeep the tears rom welling up in my own eyes. Her talkwent like this:“The biggest regret o my lie is that I never knew amother’s love. My mother died when I was only a yearold. I was brought up by a succession o aunts andother relatives who were so absorbed in their ownchildren that they had no time or me. I never stayedwith any o them very long. They were always sorry tosee me come and glad to see me go.
IF POSSIBLE, SPEND YEARS IN PREPARATION
They never took any interest in me or gave me anyaection. I knew I wasn’t wanted. Even as a little childI could eel it. I oten cried mysel to sleep because o loneliness. The deepest desire o my heart was to havesomeone ask to see my report card rom school. But noone ever did. No one cared. All I craved as a little childwas love—and no one ever gave it to me.”Had Gay Kellogg spent ten years preparing that talk?No. She had spent twenty years. She had beenpreparing hersel to make that talk when she criedhersel to sleep as a little child. She had been preparinghersel to make that talk when her heart ached becauseno one asked to see her report card rom school. Nowonder she could talk about that subject. She couldnot have erased those early memories rom her mind.Gay Kellogg had rediscovered a storehouse o tragicmemories and eelings away deep down inside her.She didn’t have to pump them up. She didn’t haveto work at making that talk. All she had to do was tolet her pent-up eelings and memories rush up to thesurace like oil rom a well.Jesus said: “My yoke is easy, my burden is light.”So is the yoke and burden o good speaking.Ineective talks are usually the ones that are writtenand memorized and sweated over and made articial.Good talks are the ones that well up within you as aountain. Many people talk the way I swim. I struggleand ght the water and wear mysel out and goone-tenth as ast as the experts. Poor speakers,like poor swimmers, get taut and tense and twistthemselves up into knots—and deeat their ownpurpose.