Facing Fears

Public speaking has always been fairly terrifying for me, but I’m facing my fears and slowly but surely, getting over them. It helps a lot when one know what they’re talking about. But it helps even more when I can get out of my own neurotic head, and move from thinking, Oh, my God… they’re all looking at me! to It’s my job to make them comfortable and to teach them something. They’re all counting on me.

It does not help to pretend everyone is naked. I have a very good imagination, but not that good. Or bad.

I spoke twice this past weekend. I won’t deny, that kind of pressure takes a toll on me. I was so exhausted from it, I slept all afternoon on Sunday. But I think both presentations went as well as I could make them, and that’s all I can expect of myself: My best.

So, thank you to the Henderson Heritage Park, and St. Luke’s United Methodist Women; the two groups who gave me the opportunity to speak. Both events were blessings I enjoyed very much. Some day, I hope I can get up and speak without feeling wiped out afterward or nervous before and during. That’s my goal. To become good at public speaking. It’s my new quest. There. I’ve put it out to the world. Now let’s see where it goes.

What are your fears and are you trying to conquer any of them?

13 thoughts on “Facing Fears

  1. I would LOVE to hear you speak someday, Gina. I’m sure you taught them well and cracked a few jokes along the way to make it interesting. I can’t imagine anything less (hee hee). I’ve been trying to be more social lately (that’s one of my fears). I have far to go still, but I’m making baby steps, which is progress.

    • ginabarlean@gmail.com says:

      Seems like you told me you were a teacher. Teachers are always such wonderful speakers. There were two there on Saturday and they just shined. I admire teachers so much.

  2. Oh, Gina, you have so many great things to share! People only see you for your wonderful knowledge and writing ability. All the other stuff is minor.

  3. Knowing what you’re talking about helps, yes. A lot. When I used to present my work, of course I knew what I was talking about, but I was still really nervous. Every time. I did slide presentations, in the dark, so I didn’t have to look at all those faces. And the slides would lead me through it. I’d lead off with some bit of self-deprecating humor – about being nervous (no lie), and when they’d laugh, I’d know they were with me and were sympathetic. And when I’d get the first question and know that I could answer it, I’d relax a little, knowing they were interested and I was in control. Oh, but so much not one of my favorite things to do.

    • ginabarlean@gmail.com says:

      It’s a fairly common fear. Doing it often really helps. I’ll have to see if I can get them to shut the lights off! 😉 I use my power points as a tool, but I don’t rely on them, and maybe if I could look at them and work more from them, it might help. I need to get better at involving the audience. That’s part of my goal.

  4. Oh, and spiders. I fear spiders, especially if one coming down on a single thread from the ceiling while I’m at the podium, speaking.

    • ginabarlean@gmail.com says:

      Sue, you would hear screaming and then realize it was you!
      I think this would actually be pretty funny to see. How can we arrange it?

  5. I have a hard time with public speaking if I don’t write out a script first. I don’t read the script, but I have to have all my words laid out beforehand or I am scared to death. If I have it outlined in my brain ahead of then I’m fine. It also depends on the group, I am more nervous if I think the crowd may have more knowledge about my topic than I do. I am pretty good at ad libbing my way through a topic I know well or am passionate about, but if I have to talk about a “marginal” issue, say like “How to post cat pictures on a website,” I get nervous, I have a cat and I have pictures, so that part is good, But putting them on a website might be a little dicey for me (Although I think I could do it. I just don’t want to explain to others how to do it,) P.S. Love the picture! Wherever did you get it? 😉

    • ginabarlean@gmail.com says:

      I got it from the soon to be famous author, Sue Bristol!.
      I wish I could stay on script! I always think I have something more clever to say at the very moment and then I get those blank stares!!!

  6. Speaking in public is never something I enjoy, but I’ve learned to grow more comfortable with it over the years. It’s always nice to hear, “You didn’t look nervous at all” afterward, because it means I disguised it well. But just because I’ve grown more comfortable with it, doesn’t mean I don’t still experience the exhaustion afterward. So I know well of what you speak!

    • ginabarlean@gmail.com says:

      Maybe I’ll always feel that. At least I don’t feel like I need, not want, need to run away and hid from the task.

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