This year, I am going to unwillingly address my fear of public speaking. This is a challenge I’ve taken on and off in the past but no matter how often I practice, it’s never going to be a favorite activity. My speaking stint is minor and not a big deal for anyone who’s even slightly comfortable with public speaking but I don’t even like leading large meetings. I think it’s a combination of little practice and the difficulty of having a softer voice that doesn’t project authority.
For this particular work event, I’ve taken on a bigger role and this includes some time in front of a microphone. I do believe that people who are good at public speaking tend to fare better in the work arena, so it’s probably good for my image to do this. However, I am under no illusion that this will translate to a larger salary or title, as I have had periodic moments in the spotlight and I think my “image” at this company is pretty set.
I plan to have a general outline of what to say but also “wing it”, which seems counter-intuitive for someone with stage fright. However this method has worked for me in the past. If I have a script in my head, I actually get more nervous; I rather speak naturally. I have also noticed that one of the most best speakers at our company isn’t afraid to stumble a bit or pause to find the right words. In other words, just having confidence goes a long way.
Do you fear public speaking? Any useful advice on how to tackle this common fear?
Side note: I honestly don’t know how people can easily give speeches at weddings or funerals. I think those situations would be easier than a work function but I really don’t like it when all eyes / ears are upon me.