Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Public Speaking

Today was one of those tough days at the office.  We had an all day meeting today with several of our field managers and the senior management of my department.  All day meetings tend to be pretty draining for me.  Today's meeting was particularly stressful because I had to make a presentation of my new responsibilities to a groupd of close to 100 people.

I have a great deal of confidence in my knowledge of my job responsibilities.  Whenever I am sitting in a meeting room, I have no difficulty in discussing what is happening in my area of responsibility.  I know what I am talking about, and I feel confident that I will be able to answer any question that may arise no matter the title of the people in the meeting.

Standing up in front of a group of people, however, is another matter entirely.  Whenever you look at a list of the top fears of people, always near the top is the fear of public speaking.  With me, I can pinpoint with the utmost confidence the exact moment in time when public speaking started becoming an issue with me.

It happened in junior high school.  Our civics class was broken up into groups of 3 or 4 students.  My group was discussing contributions of immigrants in American society.  We had to research and make an oral presentation of our report.  At one point during my presentation, I said the following, "Samuel Gompers, who was also in labor..."

Gompers was the founder of the American Federation of Labor, one of the first major trade unions in this country.  While technically what I said was correct, Gompers was in the Labor movement, I immediately thought of a woman being in labor with child.  I was terribly embarrassed.  Since that moment, I have been terrified of standing in front of a group and making a presentation.

I was told that I did a really good job today during my presentation.  One person told me that I presented some interesting, informative, and exciting information and that I did a better job than most of the other presenters.  I felt as if my voice was cracking and that I was losing track of what I was trying to say.  Thank goodness it is over for this go round. 
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  1. No doubts speaking is a major art that'll never lose its luster and successful public speaking is all about interest to speak out loud, passion, emotion and practice. And one has to take heed when speaking to public or group of people which is quite a contrast to speaking with friends or co-workers wherein usage of casual english with idioms or slang is common.

  2. Different things just "get to" different people. I can talk to groups of any size, but if I try to play music in front of groups I just seize up. All stems from a perfectionist grandmother.



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