Some people are naturally gifted public speakers. Me, for instance. Put me in front of a room full of strangers, and I'll just talk and talk and talk. About anything, really---the weather, Masonic conspiracies, which animals people look like, how sweaty I'm getting. I will literally never stop to take a breath or vomit into my mouth. That’s my level of comfort around crowds.
But, I understand that not everybody is as gifted at public speaking. Some people---if you can imagine---get nervous in front of large groups whom they rightly assume are judging their every word.
For those pathetic dumps, here are a few helpful tips for speaking in front of an audience:
- When looking out at the crowd, picture everyone in their underwear. This will deflate the tension. Unless the underwear is really sexy.
- Control your breathing. Try to breathe once for every four heartbeats, which you’ll probably feel pulsating inside in your head.
- Pick out one person in the audience, and imagine you are speaking to only him or her. Just don't say her name at the end of every sentence, especially if she’s your ex-wife.
- Carefully go over your list of talking points beforehand. You did remember to make annotated flashcards, right? RIGHT?!
- Plant your feet. Feel grounded. Don’t lock your knees, or you’ll pass out. But, don’t think too much about not locking your knees, or you will also pass out.
- Mark your speech with predetermined pauses. For swallowing and burps and whatnot.
- Remember: You’re the one holding the gun. That gives you all the power.
- Have a bottle of water handy in case of cottonmouth. Cheap gin works too.
- If one the hostages acts up, make an example of him right away. One heckler (or hysterical crier) can throw off the entire pace of a robbery.
- Lighten the mood up top with a joke or a silly walk.
- A bullhorn is a good idea, especially because the rubber Simpsons mask will muffle your voice.
- Know your audience. A little crowd work goes a long way. Is anyone there from out of town?
- Remember: Commands and demands. You’re never asking a police negotiator for anything; you’re telling him what he’s going to give you. Like a helicopter.
- You can always fall back on your note cards if you lose your place.
- If it goes past two hours, booby trap the air vents.
- Stay away from the windows.
- Did Johnny just use your real name? DID HE JUST SAY YOUR FUCKING NAME IN FRONT OF THE HOSTAGES?!!
- That’s it---Johnny’s become a liability. You shouldn’t have let your girlfriend talk you into bringing along her loser brother.
- Tape Johnny’s mouth underneath his mask and shove him outside with one of the Uzis and some C-4 strapped to him. While the cops are distracted with that, there’s a service tunnel leading down to an abandoned subway line. I’d say you have a four-minute head start.
- Don’t get tempted by the helicopter. That was just a stalling tactic.
- The Cossack has a passport waiting for you over by that one place near the piers. The one where we did that thing with the Armenians.
- There’s a van to take you to a private airfield upstate. The Cossack’s guy, Viktor, will do the count and the split on the way. You can trust him, but don’t stare at his missing thumb. He’s got a mean streak.
- After that, it’s a jump flight to Atlanta and then smooth sailing down to Bogota.
- I gotta stay behind to take care of a few things with that iPad shipment that went bad. But, I’ll meet you down there in a couple weeks. A girl I know works the bar at The Conejo Loco. She’ll set you up with a place.
- Don’t flash around any money. That place is crawling with cartel guys.
So, those are my helpful tips for public speaking. I know you get anxious talking in front of strangers, but you pull this job off and we’re set for life. Man, you won’t believe the pussy and blow down in Colombia. It's like fuckin' Heaven.
Now, go out there are break a leg.