Aileen Colleran’s Blog

Partick, Politics and Passions

My love is like a red red rose…

Third Burns night this year – somewhat after the 25th January but never mind. Land Services Burns Supper in the Concert Hall to raise money for Nordoff Robbins and Cancer Care. I’ve nothing but total admiration for people that organise charity fundraising nights as it’s not easy – the most stressful thing I’ve ever done (and that includes elections) is to help organise a fundraising night last year for Community Heart (funds health, education and reconstruction projects in South Africa). I was running about like a demented ferret that night – along with the other organisers – Denis Goldberg (one of the Rivonia trialists alongside Nelson Mandela), spoke live via a webcam link from South Africa …

Tonight was a great night – Andy Cameron was brilliant – as he’s genuinely funny and isn’t afraid to explore bigotry and sexism in Scotland without crossing any lines or making anyone’s toes curl up.

Liz Cameron, the Lord Provost, did the reply from the lasses brilliantly – it’s something I’ve sworn a great swear never ever to do. I was asked to do it but gave it the massive bodyswerve. It’s a case of Know Your Limits – I don’t do funny in speeches. Intentionally that is – can’t answer for unintentionally. The occasional dry aside that gets a giggle maybe, but I don’t delude myself I can get them rolling in the aisles.

One thing I learnt when doing stress training is how public speaking is the number one fear for most people. Understanding the stress response and how adrenalin and cortisol affect you physically, as well as preparing your speech and rehearsing it within an inch of your life and knowing some basic breathing techniques can help – but ultimately I think you have to want to do it. Maybe it’s a form of egotism but a passion for what you believe in and want to say is the best thing – the first time I spoke into a microphone at a formal meeting I was really angry and had to be silenced by the chair but I was so fired up that nerves took a back seat. The worst presentations I’ve ever heard have been from people that have obviously been told to do it and stick rigidly to their script and regard Powerpoint as their lifebelt – if they bombard you with slides they might just survive. The best thing ever to happen in learning how to speak is to have all your technology die on you and you have to eyeball your audience and talk from the heart.


March 10, 2007 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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