When it comes to talking to people, few things get me nervous.
At an early age, I became used to performing in front of a crowd – having started ballet at three and a half years old. It wasn’t until public speaking that I found myself freezing up.
If memory serves me correctly, my first speech was given sometime around grade four or grade six – an absolutely horrendous time to introduce children to public speaking. It’s when you start to become self-aware and aware of those around you in a new way. It’s when kids get picked on and you really start to realize that people are looking…and judging.
(At least it feels this way!)
It was not until sometime in highschool that I lost the fear or presenting. Group presentations helped reduce the stress and I found I was actually quite comfortable in front of a crowd. (I was also rid of my braces and substantially less awkward as a human being)
In university, I took a public speaking class with the inspirational Dr. George Donaldson, who brought me back to that place of judgement. This place, however, was not as brutal as those public speaking days in middle school. As a university class, I was learning HOW to give a speech, not just given an assignment to write one and present it. I was learning how to speak from notes, to speak with confidence and conviction and how to cut out the verbal glue (um, ah, like, so, etc.) Learning how to be my own critic helped me grow more as a speaker and presenter. The judgement was just for marks.
I discovered another way to gain confidence in speaking publicly through Seesmic. Participating in video conversations on the internet helped me again evaluate how I speak and present myself and gain confidence in front of the camera.
Yet, interviewing someone is still a little nervewracking! As a work assignment, I got to talk to new media journalist Amber MacArthur. I first met Amber back in October when she presented at the Toronto Girl Geek Dinner. As an accomplished career woman with a plethora of tech knowledge and lots of connections in the communications and media world, I was a little nervous – but she was an absolute sweetheart!! For my first interview assignment, I could not have met with a more easy-going and approachable woman!
I hope that I didn’t stutter too much or say “like” too many times! I’ll just have to keep being aware and eventually practice will make perfect!