Friday, September 20, 2013

What To Do When You're Afraid to Speak In Public

Act #263: Find that which inspires you to have a voice.

I have a secret. I used to be terrified of public speaking. I know that might not sound like a big deal, but every job I've held for the past decade or so, has required me to speak in front of large groups. No one really knew my secret though. I kept it hidden well -overcompensating by spending ungodly amounts of time preparing each and every precise word, practicing for hours in front of a mirror, reciting my speeches over and over again during my commutes. And to be honest with you, they all kind of still sucked. It wasn't until about a month or so ago, that after working for almost 20 years, did I finally offer my first public presentation....with absolutely no fear. I'm talking no butterflies, no stuttering, no memory lapses. Just me earnestly speaking of issues that I care deeply about. Actually, me speaking about one specific issue that I care deeply about. For me, it's eradicating sexual violence. For me, THIS is the issue that I can't NOT talk about. The issue powerful enough to get rid of all the butterflies, to untie my tongue, the issue that is branded so deeply in my mind that there's no forgetting anything. If a 40-year old who is terrified of public speaking can miraculously wake up one day with no fear, maybe you can too. Maybe you just haven't found your issue - the one that compels you to speak with unwavering conviction. The one that you know you can't afford to remain silent about. Find your issue, and perhaps, you might also find your voice?

1 comment:

  1. Wow - I was just talking about this concept with a student earlier today. He couldn't believe that I consider myself an introvert - in part, because he sees me teach a 50-minute class every week.

    When he asked how I get past the introvertedness, I explained that I keep the end reward in mind - that reward being that I've gotten a message out there. In your words, I've found what compels me to speak - and that's worth the discomfort.