Rick Perry Speaking Gaffe: Lessons We Can Learn

Rick Perry had an "oops" in the Republican Presidential Candidate debate and as he said, he stepped into it.  But it is always embarrassing when you forget your lines in front of a boss, a client or a huge audience.

Senior caregivers can be nervous the first time they go to a client's home to meet them.  You are on new turf and meeting someone for the first time who you will need to provide personal care services to in their private home setting.  What do you say and do and what happens if you say the wrong thing?

Just like what happened to Rick Perry, it can be rather easy for the wrong words to come out when you are nervous or to completely draw a blank.  Mikki Williams, a leading speaker's coach who also runs a speaker's training school, says there are certain techniques you can learn to make sure this never happens.

One of these techniques is to always have a story you can tell.  A story you know well and are passionate about and you won't forget it because it is your story.

Practice talking about the experiences that lead you to become a caregiver and share something personal about yourself when you meet a senior client for the first time. It can be something funny or even something sad.  When you share your story, you open the door to allow others to share their story.  You can read senior caregiving stories here and also share your own.

As for speaking, well, in elementary school I made it to the Spelling Bee final at my school.  One person from each grade was able to participate in the big evening Spelling Bee where parents and extended families were invited.  We practiced the day before and were told our first word would be easy.   The night of the Spelling Bee final, I saw my family, including my grandparents and brothers, sitting in the audience.  For the first round, I received the word "knock".  Easy enough.  I walked up and said "n".  My heart sank to my ankles.  I didn't even finish, as I knew the mistake I had made.  I knew how to spell knock but the nerves took over.  And then I saw my brother laughing at me.  The librarian with the tight bun smacked the bell and I was out. 

I can sympathize with anyone speaking in front of a crowd - sometimes you can say the wrong thing. 

But, as we all know, there are many great speakers out there who never say the wrong thing.  While it can come more naturally to some, all the great speakers have had proper speaker's training and have practiced.  That is the secret to their success.

Practice talking about your experiences in caregiving and practice telling a personal story before you meet your senior client for the first time.  Review the caregiver training you have had so that you can talk about your caregiving skills.  Then everything will go smoothly and you will make a great first impression.  As seniors who are receiving caregiving services sometimes get better or pass away, there can be turnover in jobs.  By being prepared to talk about your caregiving skills, you'll always be ready to start a new caregiving job, even if it is a quick turnaround.

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