Afraid to Speak?

What are your biggest fears? I have learned that most people say their number one fear is public speaking. They say they would rather die than speak in public! What is this about?

I am an accidental public speaker! Sometimes life gives you a challenge that leads you to where you are meant to be in order to share your innate talents. If someone had told me I was meant to be speaking in public I would have told that person that I thought they were on another planet.

That is exactly what happened! Many years ago, I was the first nurse hired to work in Reproductive Health in my province. This is now the Sexual Health Program.  It was a 9-5 job and I had a young family! Two months into the job, the district medical health officer arrived at the office and stated that he had our first speaking engagement for us. We were to speak to 60 parents at a local school.

I thought I would die on the spot. My heart was racing! What am I going to do? I could go back to safety and do shift work and never have to worry about speaking or I could push myself through my comfort zone and work hard and just do it. This is exactly what my co-worker and I did. She was just as scared as I was.

The night arrived and we fought over the lectern. Who was going to stand behind it? It is funny looking back to that first speaking engagement.  The reward was amazing though!

The audience was so appreciative of the information they had received they spread the word and we spoke 110 times, that first year, and really became comfortable experts. Oh, there was always a little apprehension, but we got better and better and loved it more and more.

Tonight I am sharing more of my journey in public speaking at an open house for Toastmasters in the Miramichi, New Brunswick.  I love adding value to others today and if  I can do anything to help others move forward I am up for the challenge.

Maureen has been teaching this ideas for over 35 years. She is a Senior Faculty Member with William Glasser International, A Licensed Counselling Therapist and Certified Personal and Executive Coach.