New Public Speaking Challenge

Written by Pam Chambers

I thought I had seen (and heard) it all, but today offered another “first.” I was scheduled to speak about business etiquette to a group of bank executives at 3:00 pm. From 2:00 – 3:00, a woman from the training department was to speak about a related topic.

Twenty minutes into her session, an alarm went off. It was a fire-drill. For fully half an hour, we were subjected to shrill alarms and orders for “Tower One to vacate the building. I repeat, Tower One, vacate the building!”

Everyone in the room carried on — speaking, listening, and taking notes as if  hearing none of this.

The noise nearly drove me mad. (I am easily distracted by gum-snapping and iced-tea being stirred for too long). I wondered what I would have done had I been the one speaking. I would have asked, “How long will this last?” “Half an hour.” I would have said, “Let’s take a half-hour break.”

But 3:00 it was, “Alarm cancelled.”  My ears are still ringing!


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