Hey everyone how are you?
This is a post I've been meaning to write for about a year, and one I know several of you have asked for.
Public speaking is something I'm both really good at, and also really really bad at. I know that doesn't necessarily make sense, so let me try to explain.
I've always been a pretty confident person. I can get up on stage and perform in front of 100s of people without a second thought. I like to think I'm outgoing, and good with new people, and I like to think I come across as someone that knows who she is. But like everyone I have my ghosts, my doubts, and my nerves.
In secondary school I fell out with the cool kids in the first year and I couldn't do or say anything without feeling like everyone's eyes were watching me, with that particular brand of teenage viscousness only teenage girls can wield. Suddenly I was torn, I wanted to carry on being me, answering questions in class, trying to make friends, but I knew I couldn't do it without being scrutinised. I'd put my hand up to answer a question, knowing I was right, but loosing my nerve half way through, and suddenly noticing my voice begin to shake. The boys in class picked up on this, and started to sing baba black sheep at me (because my voice sounded like a sheep) and this viscous circle continued.
Now before this turns into too much of a poor 13 year old me post, I should tell you that I didn't let this put me off(because I was a bit of a know it all in school and liked to be right) and that while my nerves made me vibrate more than a Nokia 3310, they never got to me on stage. And eventually we all grew up, and while I'm not really friends with anyone I went to school with anymore, I finished school happy.
And I thought I'd left my nerves behind me. In fact I went to uni pretty cocky about my public speaking skills. I studied English Literature and Theatre Studies, and in my first year, one week I was on stage performing without so much as a quiver of nerves, in front of 50 people a night, and the next I was doing a 5 minute presentation about Angela Carter to a group of 15 people in my Literature class, and I shook so much, to this day I can't really remember what I said.
It became pretty clear that I needed to find some way of taking the confidence I have when performing it and applying it to all public speaking situations.
So, I'm not naturally good at public speaking, but I have come up with a number of tools that *most* of the time, at least make it look like I am, and hopefully they can help you too.