Gut Rumbles

January 24, 2009

Public speaking

Originally published November 25, 2003

I never understood why public speaking makes me so distraught that I believe I'm going to puke and piss my pants before I get to the podium. I've played guitar on stage in front of crowds of over 5,000 people and that crap never bothered me. In fact, I was ENERGIZED by the big crowd. But giving a lecture is different.

I was Manager of Training at the plant for several years in my checkered past, and that's when I was forced to confront that unreasonable fear of public speaking. Speaking in front of a room full of people almost every day became MY JOB. I was terrified by it, and I sometimes DID go puke before I went before the audience. I always did the job, and a lot of people told me that I was good at it, but I never overcame the fear. I felt it every time.

I never understood why I could climb on a stage with a guitar in front of a bunch of strangers and feel confident, yet be utterly terrified about presenting a training program in front of a room full of people that I KNEW. The problem wasn't a matter of preparation. Hell, I was more prepared for the training than I was with my music sometimes.

But there was a difference. I still don't know what it was, but the difference was obvious to me.

I have the "gift of gab," as anybody who attended the blog-meet will testify. I am a GOOD public speaker. Even Jennifer admitted after attending a few of my classes, while KNOWING how terrified I was, that my fear didn't show. She said that I was GREAT at what I did.

The only problem was, I never felt great doing it. I still don't to this day.

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