"Stories" from the Collective (YOU)

How I Overcame My Fear of Public Speaking

by Chris Richards

Chris shares his inspirational story of how he overcame shyness, and in particularly his fear of public speaking, simply by turning up... again, and again, and again...

(STORY THEME: Overcoming Shyness)

Nerves used to get the better of me.

I have always been a relatively shy person when it comes to standing up in front of people to give a talk or presentation.

In the past I really just fell to pieces whenever I had to address more than two people at a time. On one occasion I was so nervous I missed out about a third of what I wanted to say. And got the embarrassing comment from my boss "Well that was short and sweet!".

I was rapidly approaching a significant age and decided I really should do something about it.

So I plucked up the courage and signed on to a 10 week teaching course.

The first week we were asked to give a brief outline of ourselves and what we expected from the course.

Well I was a nervous wreck and felt that my nervousness really came across in what I said. With my voice wavering and the gobbledygook sputtering forth from my very dry mouth - I thought I sounded terrible.

A couple of weeks later I gave a 5 minute talk. I was really nervous but because I had practiced and practiced - I managed to get through it all but I still managed to miss out a part of my talk.

This was then followed by a surprise 10 minute teaching session that was announced and had to be delivered that same afternoon.

Amazingly, I was less nervous this time and the 10 minutes flew by. It wasn't perfect. But I was pumped at the end of it and felt that I was at last conquering my fear of speaking in front of groups of people.

At the end of the course - I prepared and delivered a 30 minute lesson on planning with so much confidence I couldn't believe it. I was there - at last I could actually deliver something significant to people that were genuinely interested in what I had to say. All this without a significant amount of nerves.

At the time I really had no intention of going into teaching but I am now a part time lecturer in Mathematics and Electronics and regularly deliver to crowds of people.

One year ago I could hardly utter twenty five words to ten people without being really nervous . Now I deliver ten lessons a week to over twenty five people at a time with confidence.


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