Tuesday, February 25, 2014

February 25. Day 56. Staring you down

When people say their biggest fear - even bigger than death - is speaking in public I totally get it. That feeling that you have no control over any bit of your body or your bodily functions as a room full of people stare at you is overwhelmingly terrifying. "Oh, come on" I hear you say (or words to that effect). "That's pretty rich coming from you". People who live with the fear of the gut-wrenching terror of public speaking do not lecture for a living and pontificate on live radio three times a week. This is true but I have not always been that person. I have been that person with trembling hands, dry mouth and the inability for anything sensible to come out of the mouth. And let me tell you imagining the audience in its underwear certainly does not ease the nausea, just the opposite as it happens. This is not where I tell you to go to Toastmasters or undergo hypnotherapy (even though I'm sure they could work). I can not tell you what changed me. Gradually it just happened and I am a changed person. Just how changed I am was confirmed today when a friend rang me today and begged me to give a talk on anything I like to a Men's Shed group I and I agreed even though there was one big catch. They needed a speaker in 35 minutes and that's about the time it would take me to get to the venue - and I was having a nap in my PJs at the time. "I know you can do it," he said. "You can talk under water." Thankfully that wasn't required but with no topic, no time and zero preparation I knew I could do it to. Just look them in the eye and talk honestly from the heart. Fake it if you have to. So while I doubt there was any great light bulb moment for those 100 or so men who were staring intently at me, I think they enjoyed it well enough. Either that or they didn't want to ruffle any feathers.

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