Speaking in public
My worst nightmare used to be standing up in front of a group of people and talking…
One day, in a previous job, I was so fed up with it that I put my name forward for being a trainer on the new computer system. The thought of actually doing this still terrified me – I think that just shows how much I wanted to get out of the current job.
I was, for some reason, assigned the role.
I went through all the practice runs, made myself nice little prompt cards and spent at least two days walking around an empty room talking to myself. I knew the system inside out, knew what I was to say and when to say it. I worked out that was the secret. When it was time for the first training session I was really nervous (it was also Friday 13th) but I think, and still think, that nerves are good. Once I got into the swing of it the nerves subsided and I really, really enjoyed it. I had finally found something I enjoyed doing and I was told that I was actually quite good at it.
However, the role only lasted 6 months and then it was back my previous post. I was having none of that and started sending my CV to every training company I could Google. Eventually, a company took a chance on me and I guess the rest is history as they say.
I still get nervous, I still prepare, prepare, prepare and I still love telling/showing people how to do things that will make their life easier. The biggest audience I have delivered to is a lecture theatre of 60 people – that was scary! The fear dissipated when they started to put their hands up to ask questions and receiving a round of applause at the end made it all worthwhile.
Like I say, I believe the key to any kind of public speaking is preparation – know the subject inside out. Or at least that’s what works for me!
However, ask me to be in a group and start small talk and I’m useless…but I’m working on that too.
Are you comfortable in front of people, or does the idea of public speaking make you want to hide in the bathroom? Why? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me @SteveSays2014