Are you terrified of public speaking? Do you go out of your way to avoid having to make a speech or presentation? Fear of death and fear of public speaking are reported to be the two things people fear the most. I can attest to the fear of public speaking part as I grew up being absolutely terrified of having to speak in front of a group of people. But that is changing for me.Erin tells her story of fear-filled school presentations and how her career path led her to Toastmasters. Here is her description of her icebreaker speech...
In joining Toastmasters I was pushing my boundaries, cutting a swath through fear, and turning a blind eye to retreat. I went kicking and screaming but I went. I did my ice breaker speech (4-6 minutes, tell us all about yourself, go) and was surprised to find that half way through my speech I actually started to enjoy myself. I thought maybe I’d been replaced by a clone in the middle of my speech. But no, it was all me.
I’m no expert yet, believe me. My butterflies aren’t flying in formation, but I can see that someday they will. I can see that someday I will be on stage speaking about something I’m passionate about and still be able to breath. I know that someday I’ll leave the stage while thunderous applause follows me and be glad I had joined Toastmasters before I had to give that speech.
Sometimes all it takes to conquer a fear is to be willing to take the first step. Even when you don’t feel capable or qualified. Even when you don’t want to but you know it’s the best thing for you. Even when you’d rather die than push through it. What is it they say? “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” That sums up my entire experience with speaking in public.
Everytime you face down a fear it holds less power over you. And it’s not just fear of public speaking I’m talking about. Are you avoiding something you know you should or want to do because of fear? Are you afraid to ask someone out on a date? Afraid to ask for a raise at work? Afraid to admit you’re addicted to something? Face the fear. There is nothing more empowering than facing down a fear. Go a few rounds with it and you’ll find it only holds as much power as you’re willing to give to it.
If you’re fearful of public speaking I highly recommend Toastmasters. It doesn’t matter if you have to give presentations for your job or if you’re a teacher or if you’re someone who just wants to be more comfortable speaking, Toastmasters is the place to conquer your fear of public speaking.
... Don’t go to your grave avoiding anything you really want to do because you’re too afraid. Barrel right through the fear and fling it behind you. Step on it, bury it, shot-put it to the moon. Just don’t let it stop you. The power is all yours!