Tomorrow I get to stand up in front of a bunch of strangers and talk for 15-20 minutes about my workplace.
It ought to be fun. I’m actually looking forward to it. But I didn’t always feel this way.
I remember going to debates in high school, and being in awe of those with the courage to get up in front of their peers and present their side of a proposition. How do they think there?
I would get the stammers just trying to answer a question in class, and I knew that if I were in front of a crowd I would completely freeze. Deer in the headlights, big time! I’ve read that fear of speaking in public is one of the strongest phobias out there.
So, what changed? I think it was my time in the Navy as a jet flight instructor. I had to get up in front of a class of students and give lectures about the various stages of training. I soon realized that I knew more about my subject than my audience did, and my confidence rose.
Since then I’ve conducted countless training classes in an industrial environment, led singing and worship either alone or with others) in several churches for about 15 years, and even had a (tiny) speaking part in a movie!
No, don’t bother searching through Net Flix or some other movie database for my name. The movie was called “Carrier” and was made in 1968 by a British film company, but was never released. Long story!
Public speaking is like a lot of things in life. Most of us can do far more than we think we can. The trick is getting up the nerve to try it the first time, and then again, and again. Soon it’s not only possible, it’s easy!
That’s one reason I would dearly love for Lantz (my agent) to get a book contract for me. I relish the thought of arranging appearances in any venue to talk about and promote my book. No, I’m not talking about Oprah! I just mean as in book signings at the local Hastings or Borders.
Or doing a reading at the local public library. I’ve already been promised that opportunity if I get published. Hey, I live in a small town, remember? They don’t get many local authors at the Victoria County Public Library to present their work.
My problem now is NOT in gathering the courage to get up and speak—it’s in knowing when to shut up and sit down. My younger daughter Amy is called by her peers (and she’s proud of this!) the “Queen of Bullshit.” She acknowledges the title, and claims she came by it honestly, stating to any who will listen, “My father is the king.”
I’ve been known to take a 10-minute topic and expand it into an hour. But you, my myriads of faithful readers (both of you) already know this. So I’ll sit down now, and shut up.