Monday, May 12, 2014

The Challenge of Public Speaking

To see my Bead Soup Blog Hop post, click here.

Public speaking has always been uncomfortable for me. Even in grade school, I remember stressing for weeks prior to having to give a speech in class. Being the first to present was awful but being the last was even worse. Either way, I would brutally compare myself to the other kids in my class. They all seemed to be so much better than me.

I admire people who are able to stand up in front of a room full of people and speak. A friend of mine is quite good at it and he has a variety of topics he can talk intelligently about...personal growth, financial security, real estate, metalworking, medieval armour and more. And he enjoys doing it.

It got me to thinking. IF I wanted to speak in public, what could I talk about that people would be interested in?

My mind goes blank.

I know a little bit about a lot of things, having been around for so long, but do I really know enough about anything to speak about it?

An audience perceives the speaker as an 'expert' in the topic they are speaking about. Whether or not that is true, the people want to be engaged and entertained, and to learn or understand something that they did not know at the same time. A speaker must be able to keep them interested and intrigued from beginning to end.

Could I do that?

I don't know if I could. What personal experience or knowledge of value is stored in my head waiting to come out and share with others? I facilitated a gratitude workshop a couple of years ago, and even though I was well prepared, it all fell apart when I got in front of people. I stammered and stumbled, had to keep referring to my notes, and otherwise felt inadequate.

Maybe I'm just under-estimating myself again. Some of my friends will tell you that I do that a lot. The people who attended the workshop all told me that they got value out of it. Perhaps I would simply have to speak in public more often to get comfortable and better at it.

And frankly, I'm not even sure what got me thinking about this topic in the first place. No one has asked me to speak anywhere and I have not contemplated doing another workshop in the near future.

Random musings, that's all.


  1. When you need to speak in public, you do a lot of research first. Then you sound like an expert. I have done several presentations for college classes.

  2. I too have a fear of public speaking so i can commiserate. It makes absolutely no sense.. but its there..... It seems as soon as i know all eyes are on me, my lips won't work, my mind goes bland and my throat closes up..... I can feel myself turning red.... I worked in the same place for almost 20 years. And every day we had a morning meeting and once in a blue, blue moon i would be asked to stand up and report on the status of my section.... You know i've known these people for years..... talk with them on a daily basis, friendly with most of them but to stand up there and be the focus of everyone's attention just does me in every time........ Uuuughhh... Hugs! deb

  3. I am another that absolutely hates public speaking but put me behind the scenes and I will take charge. I just hate being the focal of everyone's attention

  4. I'm with Emily here: the people you see going up and starting talking spent tons of time researching, and presenting their work to themselves in the mirror. I hate public speaking a lot, but curiously enough, after my 2nd presentation this term I started to become more comfortable. I spent endless time researching, putting my presentation together, rehearsing it and presenting it to myself a couple of time... until I was looking forward to present it to my colleagues :)

    From what I gathered so far - you'll have lots of knowledge to share. I would start with the Renaissance Festivals work :) Chainmaille - it's a fascinating domain, one you can surely speak about lots. Practice does makes everything better - so just do it (if you are inclined so)!