I am learning to take my own advice* and decided to open my most recent workshop with this cartoon. It was love at first sight – evoking laughter, truth, exaggeration, and wonder. The artist fully captures the death knoll of speaker anticipation.
My favorite aspect of this cartoon is the cheer and inevitability of the speaker. His affect is so “unstressed”, welcoming, accepting his death march with a smile on his face. I find the grim reaper hilarious too. Why is his (if God is a man, then so is the grim reaper) robe torn as if he ripped himself away from another’s desperate grip? And are his feet even touching the ground? And why do they look like the feet of a five year old? Is this fear a complete projection of something truly childlike?
This cartoon is also a perfect example of why imagery is so powerful and can express layered, complex, large, human, profound and funny in less than 10 seconds. Lily Tomlin said, “We’re all in this together alone” and that is the beautiful essence of public speaking fear and anxiety. May your week be filled with humor and perspective.
* Show your audience who you really are