My guest this week is Tom Ciesielka, TC Public Relations- a long time friend and guru of Public Relations from Chicago. He called recently to thank me for introducing him to my good friend and Communications Consultant , Diane DiResta .This is a great story that he just put into practice at his Church.
In Tom’s words:
Recently, The Moody Church asked me to read the scripture Psalm 46 as part of the morning service. The Psalm opens with “God is our refuge and strength,” and I have sometimes felt that I need “refuge” to hide when speaking to a large audience and “strength” to stand steady on the platform.
I was a little nervous because it’s been a while since I spoke to a venue that could hold 3,000 people. So as I was preparing to speak, all I could think of was “What would Diane DiResta” say in her book Knockout Presentations? Then I remembered that she wrote “accept that you feel nervous. It’s OK. Take comfort in knowing that most people feel nervous.” Good point. One of my favorite comedians, Bob Newhart, would sometimes regurgitate before going on stage (I was not that nervous).
After the service, I was asked to meet with first-time visitors. That’s where Andrea comes in. When working with her, I discovered how she always found ways to help someone who was introverted learn to overcome anxiety in public spaces. As people entered the room, I handed them a DVD on the life of D.L. Moody, gave them a warm smile, and shook their hands. Then, just by asking three simple questions about how they found the church, where they were from, and if they had a home church, I was able to start a dialogue with visitors from Chicago and as far away as Germany and Korea.
In the end, I loved the experience, especially meeting the new visitors. And regarding my being nervous when speaking? The Psalm ends with “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” So as long as I remember that I am up there to exalt God and not myself, I can relax.”
Tom Ciesielka, TC Public Relations
***A Big Thanks to Tom for such a great story and lesson for us all. ARN