As a high school and college student, my performance in formal...

As a high school and college student, my performance in formal public speaking was extremely poor. I greatly dreaded facing an audience, and as a result even my most carefully prepared words seemed lame and confused when presented orally. It seemed impossible for me to organize my words when I was asked to speak extemporaneously. I was so blinded by fear in these situations that I despaired of any hope whatsoever.

Not long after college graduation I entered military service. Because of previous engineering experience I was asked to lecture to a series of special weapons classes comprised of high-ranking military and civilian personnel. Careful coaching and extensive practice sessions helped me somewhat allay the old fears, and I entered the first session bubbling with confidence. My confidence soon turned to dismay, however, because I could not remember my talk.

August 17, 1968
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