Why Public Speaking Scares The Snot Out Of Me

Do you have a fear of public speaking?

I do.

Which is kind of funny since I wanted to be an actress when I was a kid.

Given the choice, I'd much rather slave over a presentation and let someone else take all the credit for my work than stand behind a podium and deliver it myself.

I can't help it.

The mere thought of speaking in public with all of those eyes staring at me makes me break out into hives.

What if I forget how to talk?

What if I someone asks me a question I don't know the answer to?


So when my boss dropped 2 boxes of material on my desk a month after I started working for her, and told me I'd be delivering the annual report on said material for all of the senior leaders 3 weeks later, I wet my pants a little.

Okay, a lot.

I'd never done a presentation of that magnitude in my entire life. But when I burst into tears as soon as I walked through the front door that night and explained to my husband that I simply couldn't do it because I have a fear of public speaking, he told me to put on my big girl underpants and suck it up.

It took me 2 weeks to get through the material and write up my first draft of that presentation, but with a week to spare, I was feeling pretty good about things…until my boss took a look at it and virtually screamed "SO WHAT?!" at every. single. slide.

For those of you who aren't in the know, "so what?" is apparently MBA talk for "who cares?"

I must have lost at least half my body weight in sweat during that meeting, and the 3 follow-up meetings after that, but I eventually had a pretty awesome presentation to throw at those senior leaders, and I spent so much time practicing the silly thing that I thought I might actually be able to get over my fear of public speaking.

I was wrong.

When presentation day rolled around, and when those Armani suits and Prada shoes started filing into the room, I froze.

I just couldn't do it.

But when I looked over at my boss for some support, she gave me that "don't you dare screw this up!" look, and I knew running out of the room screaming like a little girl was not an option. So I swallowed my vomit, turned the projector on, took a deep breath, stood up, and started talking.

As if on cue, my mouth went completely dry and my hands started shaking so badly I could hardly hit the "next" button on the projector remote, but that was the least of my worries. My legs were what concerned me the most. My right leg, to be exact.

You know how, when you're listening to a song you really, really love, you sometimes bend and unbend your knee in time to the music? Well, that was happening to my right leg. Only there was no music. And my knee was bending and unbending faster than any song I've ever heard in my entire life.

Of course, everyone noticed. My leg became the pink elephant in the room, and no one could peel their eyes away from it. And yet I never thought to sit down.

Why didn't I sit down?

Instead, I just stayed right where I was, hoping and praying I wouldn't fall over, while my boss furiously wrote bad things about me in her black notebook.

A couple of hours later, when the presentation was over and I was safely sitting in my office licking my wounds, my boss walked in, closed the door, sat down, and stared at me in stunned silence. By that time, I already knew I was going to get fired, and if I'm going to be honest with you, I felt a little relieved, because I couldn't handle the idea of seeing any of those senior leaders ever again.

But my boss surprised me. She wasn't firing me. She was doing something far, far worse. She was signing me up for public speaking classes so I could get over my fear of public speaking once and for all, and would be arranging for me to speak in front of the senior leaders at least once a quarter. Twice if she could get me in their calendars.

And guess what?

After 2 full years of enduring that crap, I still have a fear of public speaking because, even though my legs no longer betray me like they once did, and I've learned some coping mechanisms to help me feel more relaxed, childbirth has made my whole, "WHAT IF I PASS GAS?!" fear more of a reality than I care to discuss.

Do you have a fear of public speaking?


Dated : 2021-04-06 16:23:40

Category : Funny stories

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