I don’t like public speaking.
I think I first started hating public speaking when I was about 13. I used to do some acting when I was little, ranging from being a rat in a pantomime to a frog in the school play.
But I was in a school play and I suddenly became acutely aware of everyone looking at me (which is to be expected when you’re on stage), and I suddenly hated it. There was also another couple of incidents around the same sort of age that I think were turning points. I think it was a lot to do with losing confidence and becoming more self-conscious.
I went from someone who waved at my mum and dad in the audience, oblivious to any risk of embarrassment, to a gibbering wreck at the thought of even standing in front of anyone, let alone opening my mouth.
So, that’s enough back history for now. But suffice to say, I really don’t like it.
Before the launch event of Speaking Out, Katie, our first speaker, told me I should introduce the event as I’d be a good example to other people who were nervous. Arggh. So I put together a presentation on the Sunday before and went round to see Katie for some personal tuition on the Monday. She was amazing, and I ran through the presentation about 5 times and each time she gave me some brilliant tips on how to make me more comfortable and natural.
I survived. Yes, I’m not going to win any awards for an incredible presentation. But I’d like to highlight the survival part of it.
It was weird looking at my presentation on video. The thing I notice the most is that my energy and enthusiasm seems to drop off, and I just seem a bit bored. Really, I wasn’t! I was just nervous!