Do you love public speaking? Do you aspire to stand in the spotlight and let your light shine brightly or does it send you into a cold sweat running for the lavatory in a state of panic? For some of us, a speech in front of a room full of our peers is an opportunity to connect, inspire and teach.
Recently I was invited to my 10 year old daughter’s classroom, where my introverted, big-hearted daughter took on the challenge of public speaking by embracing her love of the animal kingdom, and she impressed me with her dedication to her 4 minute speech written all by herself to educate her class on bears — in French; hand-crafted on cue cards; and memorized.
Now let’s rewind a few months earlier…
Somewhere on her way to school, my daughter took a big gulp of performance anxiety with a self-doubt chaser. Rather than proudly sharing her speech with her class, as she stood before them she broke down into tears, unable to get past the first word.
Can you relate? Has the adult version of you ever choked up or froze in the face of judgement?
Likely you didn’t break down into tears, but there may or may not have been a margarita and some emotional eating and some retail therapy behind-the-scenes. Success looks different for all of us.
When invited to present at a conference or lead a workshop my heart sings, “Ooh… YES! What an honour and blessing to speak to a room full of smart, talented interesting people and foster innovation, creativity and growth… YES!!!!!”
Most people who meet me as an adult are more than a little surprised to learn about my paralyzing shyness as a child. The 42 year old version of me talks to people everywhere I go, especially now that I market non-toxic shampoo that re-grows hair (crazy I know!).
Yet, the 10 year old version of Lisa broke into tears and ran away on the playground when a well-intentioned child said the unimaginable and horrific word, “Hi!” to me. A panic attack, not public speaking, would have been the only option for me.
What is this huge truth about public speaking?