Public speaking is one of the most common fears. This young person discovered that the only way to get up there was to practice with others.
caused overwhelming sensations: heart fluttering, stomach churning, light headedness, dry mouth
Naturally reserved, I was always very nervous when I made a speech and never enjoyed the experience. So, it was after another oral assessment on an ordinary school day in Year 7 when I saw a poster calling for debaters. This was to be the beginning of many debates with myself. Maybe I should get more information, maybe another day, maybe another time. I continued to make excuses for myself even though I knew opportunity does not knock twice (to use a famous proverb).
Ultimately, my English teacher made the decision when she asked me to be on the debating team having read my class essays. I found persuasive writing challenging but also invigorating to constantly reiterate the issue and a lot of relevant evidence in my arguments. Little did I know that this would assist in public speaking.
Impromptu debating was not without its moments of sheer terror and stress - when we worked out our case twenty minutes before speaking time. Just nine words, "And now the third speaker of the affirmative team..." caused overwhelming sensations: heart fluttering, stomach churning, light headedness, dry mouth.
It is easier to be motivated when you are not a lone ranger. Some of the times I got my friend to sit in the audience. Whenever I felt there was a lack of audience rapport, I would think of my speech as just a normal conversation with her. I realised that undoubtedly there would be people in the audience who are also afraid to speak and therefore would not be critical. Debating does have many benefits: it not only complements public speaking skills but also trains you to think on your feet.
One of the reasons I was afraid of speaking was that I knew I wouldn't be able to make everyone laugh. Truth is, everyone has their unique style of speaking - just as two directors can take the same script and produce two different blockbuster hits.
Always remember: successful public speakers are made, not born.