Is it really fear?
Or only in our mind?
Published: Friday, March 8, 2013
Updated: Thursday, March 7, 2013 17:03
Public speaking seems to be a horror for everyone. The fact that Communication 2301 (aka Public Speaking) is a requirement for every student on campus makes it even scarier. Why is public speaking such a big deal? The fear we have of talking in front of others is just in our mind.
In our society today we are not conversing with each other by mouth as much. Instead of speaking with our voices, we are channeling our words into Facebook messages, text messages and tweets. Although it is good to learn how social media plays a big part in our society, public speaking is still an important form of communication. I am enrolled in public speaking, and when I registered for the class last semester at 3 a.m., I was dreading it. I knew I had to take it, and I thought it would be better to get it done now then wait until my last few semesters of college.
I am shy and quiet around people that I do not know, but if I was put into a room with a group of my friends, I could talk for hours. What is so scary about looking out at a classroom of people who are actively listening and learning about your topic? NOTHING.
In my public speaking class there are at least 30 students. I would guess that half, if not more, experience the same nerves and fear that I have. I have always been against speaking in front of people if I don’t have to. Having that outlook on the situation is not helping me gain any skills for a future career where I will have to deal with people face-to-face.
In the hours before my first presentation, my whole body was shaking and my nerves were killing me. My speech had to be between five to seven minutes. That seemed like an eternity. I kept telling myself it was not going to be a big deal, but the little voice inside my head said otherwise. Finally I calmed down, but when 1:50 p.m. hit, I knew in the next 15 minutes, my life would be flashing in front of me (so to speak).
The expression “the hardest part is walking out the door,” can easily describe how I was feeling that afternoon, even though I had to walk in the door. What was I so nervous for? I knew that half of the class would be listening to me when I talked, while the other half thought about when class would be over. I made it through that awful speech day and after walking away from the front of the classroom to my seat, I thought that was not a big deal. Of course, there were some parts of my speech that could have worked differently and if it weren’t for my YouTube video to mess up, I would have not been as worried.
I got an email that night from my professor with her comments and grade for the speech. After reading through her comments, I made a great grade! I thought I had done worse. I did have a few points taken off because I almost talked for 10 minutes. It sure did not feel like I was standing in front of the class for 10 minutes. Overall I was happy with my presentation and I was worrying about nothing. I made the effort to stand in front of all of my classmates and not chicken out.
If you are like me and do not have a naturally outgoing personality, then mostly likely you have a fear of public speaking, too. Have confidence in yourself that you can get in front of people and speak. Once you get up there and look out at your audience, the fears and nerves will drop away.