Scared speechless? Yes, as a matter of fact, I am. I know, it’s hard to believe for most of those who know me. But I really am if, or when, I have to stand up in front of a group of people and talk or give a speech. I sweat. I stutter, kind of. My voice quivers and yes, sometimes, I even clam up and nothing comes out. I know, once again, hard to believe, right?
Well, I decided to take a class at Alexandria Technical and Community College called, “Scared Speechless – How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking.” The class was taught by Robin Johnson, who I have to say, was fantastic…and I am not just saying that because she will probably be reading this. She was very calming, professional, funny and down to Earth. She made us feel at ease. Like we were normal and not the scaredy-cats we all believed we were. She believed in us, which in turn, made us believe in us. (If that made sense!) The class was great and I am happy I took it. Despite the fact that last night, all the students in the class (there were only a handful of us) had to each give an eight-minute speech.
I really didn’t know what the heck I was going to talk about for eight minutes. EIGHT WHOLE MINUTES. That in itself was scary. But then, it happened. I had to write a column for the newspaper and when I finished it, I immediately thought, “OMG, I just wrote my speech!” Awesome.
Well, my column (I wrote about my 10K running experience), which you can read here, didn’t last eight minutes when I read it out loud, so I had to include more information…an intro at the beginning and a longer ending. When I read it at home, it was five seconds short of eight minutes. Whew! I made it. I even practiced it a few times.
Well, last night, when I read it in class, some how, some way, I ended up stretching it out even longer and it turned into a 10-minute speech. Yep, TEN WHOLE MINUTES! I stood up, in front of a group of people and spoke for 10 minutes. And I don’t think my voice was as shaky as I expected it to be.
I want to thank Robin for giving me the encouragement and the skills needed to start my journey of getting over the fear of public speaking. I have to admit that afterward, I was pretty pumped up. Although, if anyone was standing close to me, they would have seen all the sweat beads formed over my upper lip!
I just hope that next time, it goes as smoothly as I felt it went last night!
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