How Do You Feel About Public Speaking ? Do you get nervous when faced with a crowd?!
"I just can't find the words"
Silly as it may sound, I like public speaking and I find it affords me the opportunity to keep track of what it is that I am trying to say. Being an original member of the ‘I’m talking and I can’t shut up’ tee shirt club this is pretty stellar in my mind. Ahhh, so you are scratching your head, right?
Here’s the story: I was a mousy little doormat for many many years. Later, at a point I can’t exactly pinpoint or recall happening, I discovered that I actually dig speaking to big crowds of people. But I wasn’t born this way.
I don’t know if it was after the experiences I had making it through army basic training (5 billion years ago)….maybe. That was one of the first times discovered I had a few strengths. And, unlike regular people, I actually LIKED basic. Ok, that is about 98 percent true. I admit, there were quite a few times when I thought I would be better off dangling my 89 pound self from a spaghetti noodle over a pit of hungry gators rather than endure more ‘belly busters’; the bile creeping up and spewing all over the inside of my throat while I lay on the hard ground, on top of my hands, barely holding my head up despite the screaming burn tearing down each side of my neck while I flail my legs all over creation barely able to scream the chant “ONE MORE DRILL SERGEANT!!”
Anyway, I digresss….the point was succinctly about public speaking, right?! I suppose, in retrospect, I feel much more confident touting my love for, and the thrill of, public speaking because I have had to do it for so many years. Countless hours of my life have been squandered. Time lost with me gabbing my trap in courtrooms, in front of junior college classes, and in training classes. So, it seems simple that I have become adept at the task. Then, at some point I don’t rightly recall, a recurring theme with me, this ability transformed into a real enjoyment. I can even find comfort in doing it. [I know, right?!]
I think this fondness just comes from finding my sense of self, which I really didn’t have a clue about until my late 30’s. Prior to that time, I was still a whiz kid in the speaking department, but it wasn’t something I was as comfy with as I am now. So it’s just an old lady ‘thang. This ethos, or excuse, diverges nicely with the reality that having a high quantity of years really just means that I just DON’T CARE what people think. Once I hit that juncture, the ‘old lady’ one, it was like being a kid in a candy store all over again. Albeit without the penny candy. Economy + living in HI = NO PENNY CANDY, darn it.
So in turn, I propose a response and my question is this: do we really take ourselves so seriously that outward impressions matter so much that we can’t just be ourselves? Really?! It was that exact realization that clicked for me. So, as I laugh at my teen and my tween when they get all consumed with themselves and what people think, I sigh with joy because I am free. Self “freedom” serves the public speaker very well; at least that is what I think. I can just be myself, say what I need to say, and hopefully enjoy some chuckles from my audience along the way.