Many people are more afraid of public speaking than death. This past fall, I realized why.
I still clearly remember the feeling. My hands were shaking, my forehead was sweating, and my mind was racing. I paced back and forth, trying my hardest to run through my speech one last time.
The butterflies in my stomach were going crazy. The nerves were running through my body, I couldn’t tell if it was fear or excitement.
Then the lights dimmed. I heard the sound of my introduction. I took a deep breath and stepped on stage.
The process of writing and giving a speech was a surreal experience for me. It was filled with highs, lows, and many different emotions.
There was the feeling when I was staring at a blank piece of paper. I didn’t know how to begin or what to put on the paper. I was stressed.
There was the feeling when I practiced my speech over and over. My confidence was building.
There was the feeling when I had to go back to the drawing board five days before my first speech.
Then, there was the feeling when I listened to my introduction, and the feeling when I finally stepped off of the stage.
I learned three major lessons throughout this process.
- Practice makes or breaks the speech. Even if it seems over the top and unnecessary, you cannot practice too much. If there was one thing I could do over in this process, I would have practiced one more time.
- Always be thinking about why the audience should care. The audience will only actively listen if you are offering something that matters to them.
- Every speech can change the world. To prepare for my speech, I read Give Your Speech, Change the World by Nick Morgan. Morgan writes that every speaking opportunity, from power point to major address, has the potential to change the world.
It was scary to stand between those two potted plants. It was scary standing on that worn rung. It was scary to stand up in front of that audience.
It’s scary to speak in front of people, but you have to face your fears to grow in life. Public speaking is the next dragon you must to battle. Take a chance and speak. You never know, you might just change the world.