Effectively carry Air Force’s message into local community

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Norbert Motz
  • 361st Recruiting Squadron commander
In his "Letter to Airmen: Every Airman an Ambassador," Secretary of the Air Force Michael Wynne urged each of us to carry the message of the Air Force to the communities in which we live.

He encouraged us to engage our local leaders and neighbors with personal stories of service and to share the unique capabilities the Air Force brings to the fight.

No problem, task accepted. But, there is a significant challenge involved ... speaking in public. 

Interestingly, some statistics say we are more scared of speaking in public than of death.

If you find yourself in this category, here are a few things to remember when speaking in public. Some of them may seem like no-brainers, but many forget the simple rules:

--Be yourself. Don't try to be someone you aren't. The audience will see through it.

-- Don't try to cover too much information. You only need two or three main points.

-- Be humble. No one likes a braggart except the braggart themselves.

-- You do not have to be perfect in your delivery. Your audience wants you to succeed and will overlook minor flaws.

--Preparation can prevent panic, but don't over prepare. Trust in your own ability.

-- Don't believe that public speaking is inherently stressful. This is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

--Humor is a great tool, but make sure it is appropriate.

-- Speak clearly, adjusting your voice so that everyone can hear you. If you have a microphone, don't fiddle with it.

--Take your time. It is a natural tendency to speak rapidly when nervous.

--Make eye contact to build trust with your listeners.

-- Use hand gestures effectively, but do not fidget or put your hands in your pockets.

This isn't an all-inclusive list, but it may help you if called upon to speak to a group of fellow citizens about your Air Force experiences.

You probably don't want to hear this, but public speaking only gets easier the more you do it.

I sincerely hope you get the chance to demonstrate through your own words how important the Air Force is to you and our country.

For as Secretary Wynne stated, "Our Air Force is unequaled in its ability ... for one reason: the passion, talents and ingenuity of you, our matchless Airmen!"