Monday, October 15, 2007

Public Speaking ... Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.

Your heart begins to race.
Your breathing becomes faster.
You start to wonder if the strongest antiperspirant on the market will be good enough or if you should've lined your blouse with disposable diapers. Yup. It's time to get up in front of a crowd and speak.

Speaking in public is part of the author package. You're expected to not only climb out of your writing cave and put yourself out there to interact with the public, but to come off sounding like a reasonably intelligent person. Ack!

I'm not particularly afraid of the actually speaking part. What concerns me is whether or not I'll make a good impression. After a workshop will the attendees come away thinking they enjoyed the session, felt it was worthwhile, or whether they thought, "She's an idiot! What a complete waste of time!"

Writing is hard work but teaching writing is even more difficult. As I fine tune my session for the Surrey Writer's Conference this weekend, I find myself constantly battling the self-doubt demons.

Do you ever do public speaking? Are you afraid or confident?


B.E. Sanderson said...

I'll tell you what the professor I had for Public Speaking told me: Everyone is afraid of public speaking. I'm afraid of it. Acknowledge it. Accept it. And move on.

That was paraphrasing of course. It's been too long since I went to college, and even though I majored in Public Speaking (and the above professor was my advisor), I don't remember too much of what I was taught (at least not verbatim). His words helped me a lot, and although I don't speak in public all at any more, they still help. In fact, they're pretty true for any fear. Once you understand what you're afraid of and why, the fear gets easier to tolerate.

You'll do fine. And thought I can't be there, I'm rooting for you. =oD

Wendy Roberts said...

What do you mean you can't be there? =>:[

Now that I know you majored in public speaking I want you at all my conferences as my backup LOL!

Good advice about understanding the fear.

spyscribbler said...

Three times a year. (Not for being a writer; during my students' piano recitals.)

I don't get nervous anymore, though. I have gotten comfortable with the fact that I suck as a speaker. The audience just has to deal, and I'll make it as quick and painless as possible.

And at the Spring Recital & Award Ceremony? I cry. Not the pretty, dainty tears I can wipe away which can make me look like a caring teacher. Nope, I cry so that I can't talk anymore, standing up there in front of two hundred people.


B.E. Sanderson said...

LOL If you're paying my way, maybe we can work something out. ;o)

Oh, and my own public speaking experience was limited mostly to conducting training. If you ever want to know how to sell ergonomic tools, or how to teach Lotus123 v2.4 for DOS, I'm your gal. I never really did use that expensive schooling much for real public speaking. *shrug*

Wendy Roberts said...

Spy, you're probably a much better speaker than you give yourself credit for. I'm sure the audience appreciates your emotion!

b.e., I imagine there'll be many more opportunities to speak in your future!

Jana DeLeon said...

Well, this is sort of a wasted question on me since I'm a corporate trainer. :)

Yes, I do a TON of public speaking. My best advice is really, REALLY know your material and that is the best thing you can do to give yourself confidence.

Good luck!