I’m terrified of public speaking. I used to have anxiety attacks at the very idea of having to speak, let alone what happened when the time to speak finally came.
But speaking is part of my future career and it’s soon to be part of my current career. I’ve landed my first non-scholastic speaking engagement. Surprisingly enough, I’m fine with it. It’s going to be a relatively small group in a safe and welcoming atmosphere on a topic that I’m enthusiastic and knowledgeable about which will also be important and relevant to my audience. It’s a golden opportunity that should allow me to build my skills while also giving back to my community. I’m looking forward to it, in an anxious sort of way.
I learned many, many years ago that, as a writer, speaking would be required. This was one of those things I considered totally unfair. I mean, part of the reason I wanted to become a writer is because it was a career that would allow me to share my stories and my thoughts without having to be up in front of people, and this totally ruined that vision.
Things have changed since then. But the need to be a speaker as well as a writer really hasn’t. One big, huge advantage is that some of this speaking can be done online, with video or audio recording equipment. This provides your audience with the experience without requiring you to actually perform in front of a live audience. Big bonus for people like me.
But this doesn’t get you out of the whole speaking gig. Even if you do most or all of your speaking online, you still have to build the skills to do it well. So, do it. Start small. Keep it safe. Build yourself slowly. Take your time. Start now. By the time you need to do it to propel your career forward, you’ll be ready.