When Did Speaking in Front of Others Become Uncomfortable?

Written by Pam Chambers

Probably not last month, or last year, but when you were in grade school. You had to get up in front of the class and give an oral book report, or describe your science project. Perhaps for the first time in your young life, your friends became your enemies. You flubbed a word. Someone snickered. Your face turned red. More people snickered. Your mind went blank. Your teacher frowned and told you to continue. Bam! You made a decision: This is not safe. And forever after, memories such as these were linked to being in front of people.

In my classes, people ask, What am I so afraid of? Normally Im a confident person! I think at the bottom of this fear lies the horrendous thought that you might be so unacceptable, make such a fool of yourself, and be so unrespectable, that you might as well pack up and leave town. The city would be abuzz about how awful you were. Most basic, you might be abandoned – left to circulate through the universe, outcast and alone.

Sounds melodramatic, but people nod in agreement when I describe it this way. What can you do if you have a presentation in the near future?

  1. Tell yourself the truth about how you think and feel.
  2. Realize that that was then, and this is now.
  3. Discover a desire to share your message. How will it help people?
  4. Know your subject, and if possible, love your subject.
  5. Clarify your intended result and call for action.
  6. Figure out what to wear.

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