You can insert competency, naturalness, authority into this if that feels better, but here’s what we talk about when we talk about fluency.
You do this work at the highest level without thinking about techniques or mechanics.
You’re comfortable enough to think through questions and answers, without panicking about what’s “right” – thanks to experience.
You can be quiet – because sometimes you don’t need to talk.
You can be brilliant, without preparing for it.
You can manage surprises without losing your place in the script.
All of this happens when you develop a fluency in a skill, a sport, a relationship, a way of being. It’s a great place to be, right? But there will always be new things you get into where you’re a beginner – you’re on the JV team (and it’s uncomfortable for a varsity player like yourself.)
When I first started moderating panel discussions I was very focused on my questions – now I hardly look at them because I take cue’s from people’s answers, and aim to drive the conversation genuinely, but in a natural direction that serves the audience and gets the most from the panelist.
On the other hand, there’s my tennis game. I was a social player until this summer when I started taking lessons. I’m in the JV phase where I think about every stroke, my leg positions, my racquet – it’s all in my head. There’s very little naturalness. But if I keep going (and who doesn’t want to wear a tennis costume legitimately) maybe I’ll gain some fluency and stop THINKINg so much. And become good, if not fluent.
It’s important to know your fluencies, and your JV sports. Expectations change when you see the game you’re playing.
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