Saturday, October 03, 2009

Speak Up!

According to many studies, the one thing that is feared more than death is ‘Public Speaking’! I can say that it was true for me for a very long time, and is something I have been working on getting over for many years now... when I say public speaking I don’t fear prepared presentations or even acting, as long as it has been prepared and practiced… What freaks me out, is having to talk impromptu. Doesn't have to be at a large gathering, but even asking questions or giving my opinion in front of a group of strangers can be scarry... Scared that people will think that my question is stupid, scared that what I say was too obvious, scared of being laughed at…

While in SL both in school and uni, I didn’t feel this fear much, as people in general don’t ask questions or comment in lectures much. But it struck me hard in Cambridge, when everyone else was speaking over the others and I was too scared to say a word. You may remember one of my earlier posts ‘finding my voice’ one of the first steps towards getting over this fear.

I'm happy to say that I have come a long way since then...still speaking up in public is not second nature to me, but by forcing myself to speak at meetings, to speak up at gatherings when I have an opinion and by volunteering at improv, it has become easier.

Another thing I've noticed when I observe people at meetings and presentations is that often even the leaders the outspoken people still seem to have a fear of public speaking. Recently I was sitting very close to some of the main speakers at a meeting and I noticed, slight hand tremors (barely visible) when one of them was speaking, and I've observed similar instances with other speakers too…so maybe many self confidant people too have some apprehension and nervousness when speaking in public, not just me…so I've learnt the key is to speak in spite of the fear, not to let the fear paralyze you.

After all, if you were invited to a meeting or gathering, that was because your point counts, so you should not deprive others of that valuable input!

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