Sunday, June 7, 2015

Learning Public Speaking and Overcoming my Fear

     Public Speaking.  My worst fear.  EVER!

     So three years into my recovery my husband and I are discussing my urge to speak publicly about my recovery.   I really wouldn't say it was my urge, but that I was being tugged by an unseen force. ( that's a whole story in itself) 

     Those that know me well realize that public speaking is an action that I have avoided at all cost.  I could not even give a speech at my best friends wedding due to my extreme shyness!  

     Being the center of attention, having all eyes on me, everyone listening to what I want to say?  Fooor.....getttt it!

     This urge to speak up was so strong that it would not be ignored any longer.  Fine.  I need help.  My husband gives presentations like clock work at his work establishment.  Following his guidance, I slowly began thinking of what I wanted to speak about and how I would share it. 

    I received an email from him one afternoon, forwarding information about an online class that he had received from a co-worker with whom he had shared my dilemma.  The six week class was offered by the University of Washington State and stated all students would record four presentations varying from ninety seconds up to ten minutes.  

     This is perfect for me.  I don't have to get up in front of a class, it is just myself and a video recorder.  I can do this.  I need to do this.

     At that point, I could not imagine speaking about anything for ten minutes!  I laugh at that now because ten minutes is over and I'm like, "Wait, I'm not done!"

     Our very first assignment was just a short ninety second speech stating our reason for entering this class.  It was ridiculous how nervous I still became in my living room and a camera pointed towards me!   All I could think about was how many people would be viewing this.   We posted to You Tube and I knew only class members could view it, but still.  I. was. ridiculous.

     My tongue was thick, my sentences ran together.  I definitely hadn't mastered the "dramatic pause"  or any pause for that matter.  I re-recorded it at least seven times if my recollection is correct.  This was going to be a huge challenge for me.  

     So this is how I started my public speaking endeavor and if this shy, introverted woman can do it, there is hope for everyone who faces this same fear.