Fear of Public Speaking

Like most, public speaking has ALWAYS been a fear of mine. It’s a common phobia. Mine started up when I was at University. We use to do “reviews” of our projects every 2 weeks and one week I stood up in front of a new Tutor and I spoke about my project. He slated my project, my idea, my designs and said my presentation was overall poor all with a smug smile on his face. Later on that day those in my class came up to me and told me they didn’t understand why he treated me that way in front of a class when I was only in the initial stages of my project.  Maybe, I took it to heart but it has crippled me from hence force.

I remember doing more presentations in front of the class in the following weeks. I remember that I started talking about my product and then broke down in front of everyone ran off and cried because I was THAT terrified. The fear stemmed from F’cking up WHICH put that thought into my mind so I couldn’t concentrate on the task at hand – which was presenting the project that I knew very well. I had a break down after that because I was scared that if I couldn’t do public speaking how was I ever going to go to an interview and how was I ever going to get a job? I was in my second year of uni and I was already scared and worried about my future before I had even graduated. This was anxiety at my height.

Now, 5 years later. I’m still scared of public speaking but I have a full and hearty career in design. Believe it or not, I SURVIVED that hurdle in my life and I overcame interviews by…well.. doing them. I never choked. Maybe because it was public speaking and there are only 2 people max that I deal with in interviews but then… I wouldn’t have to see them ever again if it went bad.

I started off my career terrified to talk in all of the meetings. Only in the most recent job have I started to contribute more. I found that the less your mind is foggy with fear and anxiety the better you form ideas but it’s a catch 44. When you’re stuck in the loop you in there. Public speaking is my next personal goal I want to hit. I know it will always be a black cloud over me making me feel small and like I can’t progress even though it’s all in my head. The best way I thought to get over that was the way I know best which is to go out there and DO IT.

I decided to set out and try to do a presentation on something I know best, How To Build a Website. This is my favourite past time. I’ve set up websites for my friends, for strangers, for family friends for friend’s families. For some reason, I love doing it. I know this topic fairly well and so I applied to present this at my companies equivalent of a “tedX” talk. It’s not actually tedX but it has a similar goal of sharing knowledge or something you are passionate about with others.

When I applied I spoke about my huge fear and how I was trying to overcome it (I went on a 1-day workshop – it didn’t help) and the organiser replied back super duper friendly and came up with the idea that he could help me with my presentation skills. He mentioned it would be vital to my career, not just the presentation part but the public speaking aspect and really wanted to help as he too uses to be afraid. He now does presentations all the time and public speaking comes easy. So, I thought to myself, WHY THE HELL NOT. So now I’m being mentored by this manager of another team and he is helping me SOOOOOOO MUCH. I’ve had about 2 sessions with him to work towards this presentation that I’m doing. He’s giving me a load of valuable advice and I feel really grateful for his time. I think I’m going to nominate him for an award at my workplace (we get awards – its a tech company).

Apart from that, I’ve been doing 100001 things as usual but I found it’s best to write about one topic per article. Mainly because they just get too long otherwise. So that’s all for now in my world! Things are looking awesome 🙂

Image Source: Vecteezy

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