Naked with Black Socks
Are you comfortable in front of people, or does the idea of public speaking make you want to hide in the bathroom? Why?

I can speak in public successfully when I am actually standing at the podium behind a microphone. It’s the lead-up to the ordeal that can be agonizing. I rehearse what I am going to say over and over again until I have it memorized thoroughly. I select 3 or 4 people around the room with whom to make eye contact, that usually helps me stay focused. The danger in this is wooden delivery devoid of anything interesting. The worst thing is to freeze entirely:  the “deer in the headlights” reaction. Correction: the worst is when you forget what you are going to say and start making inappropriate jokes or remarks to fill the dead air.

That is where all those elementary and junior high public speaking competitions come in handy. I actually won the prized trophy with my speech about wildlife conservation. It’s like some long-embedded ability or memory comes forth and I pull it off somehow. My high school debating team experience doesn’t hurt either. All this makes me sound like ubergeek.

I am a quiet reserved person so people usually expect me to bomb or have a total meltdown when I get up to speak. It seems like public speaking ability is reserved for extreme extroverts. I envy those people who are totally at ease in any social situation. For some bizarre reason I am more comfortable speaking in front of a room full of total strangers than sitting around making inane small talk with casual acquaintances or co-workers. Small talk is another sort of ordeal anyway!


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