Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Taming the Fear of Public Speaking

I've never enjoyed getting up in front of a crowd of strangers and speaking. My heart starts to beat widely in my chest, my words get stuck in the back of my throat and my focus runs out the door. Worst off--I can't even breathe!

A writer friend of mine wants me to talk to a group she attends about how I came to have a book published. "I'd die in front of everyone," I told her. How would I ever avoid embarrassment when I stumbled all over myself? Let me write the words but please don't make me speak them out loud.

Last night, my considerate husband accompanied me to my first Toastmasters' meeting. I'm not sure if it is called that because you feel like you've been toasted afterwards or what. I know this fear of public speaking is important to conquer if I want to go forward with some of my other goals. So we settled at the board table with about seven other people. Before we knew it, we were called on to speak during the table top speeches. I wasn't even allowed to say "Wait! I don't know what I'm doing! I may pass out!"

So I spoke about the many Frenchmen I knew. I talked and talked and watched the light to turn red only to find out later I had spoken for one minute and thirty-two seconds and should have stopped when the light turned green--not red.

I'm going back next week . . . and the week after and then the week after that until I can get it right. I should have learned this skill years before but now seems to be the time.

If you are a writer--look ahead. Someday you may be called upon to stand up in front of a room of other writers and tell them what you've learned. I hope I'm in that room because I'll be praying for you but also sharing your joy.


Mid Stutsman said...

Hi Terri... you nailed that feeling of fear and inadequacy when called to speak in public!
I'm glad you are "taming" it and I hope you'll post more on the subject... I'm going to put in my favorites list!!
hugs, mid

Ann said...

Hi Terri-You've always been so helpful to me. Maybe this time I can help you. :-)

About 4-5 times a year, I'm "volunteered" to speak in front of a group of about 300 people. It can be very intimidating, but I also consider it a challenge. Please send me an email if you want a few "hints."

Good for you for conquering your fear! I can't wait to see you out there promoting your book!

Betty said...


That was cute about the red/green light. When you get over your fear, you can come to the Teach-In at Oviedo High School.