I was sure I would collapse. My fear of public speaking had me so nerved up, I thought my knees would buckle and I would fall to the floor. Honestly.
As it was, I did shake — a lot. But, I got through it! That was my first victory at Toastmasters.
Fear of public speaking holds many people back — socially, at work, and at other opportunities to speak up. At Toastmasters even the most timid of us has taken on the challenge to reduce our fear of public speaking. We call it — having the butterflies fly in formation!
After the Icebreaker (first speech), I was told that the best thing to do is to just get through my first 3 speeches. Why? Because those are the toughest since I was just starting. I was also given a list of things that I was doing well already. Really? All I could remember was the things that I thought I did badly. It was nice to have someone point out things that were great.
That’s a common problem — it’s so easy to focus on what we do wrong and with the added pressure of getting up in front of people, well — it’s no wonder we’re afraid.
At Toastmasters, we do have speech evaluations, and it’s mostly so we understand the things that we are good at. Yes, we may get one tip on how to improve something, but that isn’t the most important part! Best of all, the only people evaluating you are the members who have all been exactly where you are — up front and speaking.
Now that I’ve had a lot more speeches to get comfortable with, I have other tips to combat my fear of public speaking. I’ll save those for next time — unless you want to ask me yourself at our Toastmasters meeting!