It is now time for our young to return to school. For many, you are now sending your children off to Kindergarten, to high school, or to college… for the first time. Do you stop and think about that, every few days, and fret about your ‘babies’ growing up.

You should be in our house when my wife and I get started. We are sending our second, and last one, off to kindergarten. Our little baby is growing up. And when she grows, we are forced to face the reality of change.

If you are like most people, you don’t like change. You gripe about it, you resist it, and then you give in but not without a fight. My career for the last 17 years has been computers. Little ones, big ones, many connected ones. And you might think, “Since you work in the technology industry, you must surely be accepting of change. Technology changes all the time.”

I would certainly agree that technology changes. If you google ‘computer lifespan,’ you will find that most experts say a computer has a lifespan of 2-5 years. I would recommend three. If you buy a computer today, you will be unlikely to find that same model for sale in six months. ‘Cool gadgets’ today, become ‘out’ in 18 months. So yes, I do see more than my fair share of change.

However, so does everyone. Computer chips have continued invading every item in our lives. Watches, clocks, radios, phones, toaster ovens. How about your cell phone. It’s now easier and cheaper to buy a new phone, rather than a replacement battery when it will no longer hold a charge.

But do I, because of my close relationship to technology, accept change any more willingly than you? I am ashamed to say no. It is said that we fear change because fear means loss. And upon self-examination I found myself getting very anxious and upset when dealing with change. 

You should have seen me recently. I thought I found a great way to deal with technology management and the changes involved with it. I had plans! Six-year plans, then three-year plans. But just as my plan would come to fruition, something would change. “How can I see the gains of my plan if I can’t sit back and let it work its way toward my goals !?!”

Have you seen the movie, Rocky Balboa? I was watching it one evening, and I got to the part where Rocky gives a monologue to his son. In the midst of that scene, Rocky says “It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done.”

If you had seen me then, you have probably seen the proverbial light bulb above my head. It finally struck me that life’s ‘hits’ are ‘change.’ And no matter which of your plans, life decides to change, you have to make it through and keep progressing. Change is eternal. No one has the luxury of doing without change. But the winners don’t let change stop them.

How does this pertain to public speaking? Yes, change happens here too. Change in the plans. Change in the venue. Change in the audience.  Change in your expectations.

When you are preparing for a presentation, know it so well that you can flow with changes. Know it so well that you can adjust the content to meet new time considerations, audience reactions, and venue changes.

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