What are you afraid of? I think a better question for me is, “what are you not afraid of?” because I’m afraid of a lot of things, things that are reserved for either those who are really weird (eyes that grow on potatoes) or really young (the dark). So I was amazed that the one phobia that tops peoples’ list of fears is glossophobia. Glossophobia is a fear of public speaking. Now, I can understand necrophobia (fear of death), acrophobia (fear of heights) and even atelophobia (fear of imperfection). However, conquering public speaking is much simpler than people think.
When I was in elementary school everyone in my class had to read a book and do a brief book presentation. I think my book was on manatees and I was petrified. I absolutely did not want to stand in front of my classmates and discuss my book on some aquatic animal. Growing up I was a shy and awkward child, I wore huge coke-bottle glasses and my outfit of choice was spandex shorts with huge t-shirts. Needless to say, I didn’t have many friends. The last thing I wanted was for everyone to stare at me blabbing about sea cows. So of course I did what any reasonable, socially awkward child would have done: I told my mom I was “sick” on the day of my presentation. Was I proud of it? No, but I did get out of explaining to my classmates how manatee means “breast” to people in the Caribbean, so I was satisfied. Yet, I remember how much I hated being afraid of something to the point where I had to lie.
It would be a lie for me to say that public speaking doesn’t still make me nervous because it does. There is a lot of room for error and a lot of ways for presentations to go awry, but what I always tell myself is, “no one knows how I’m feeling but me.” If I act like I’m unafraid, calm and confident then who is anyone to tell me I’m not those things? You are who you want to be and if that fails I guess you can always picture everyone in their underwear.
Photo credit: http://startpublicspeaking.com/?p=12