In my last year of university, I chose a module called ‘Communication for Leadership’ in which most people on my course chose to do. In which it taught us how to essentially communicate well, specifically for public speaking. This meant every week we had to give a speech of a different kind to our class, whether it was with the comfort of powerpoint behind us, and me rambling on about how a trombone works, or a persuasive speech about how we still need to love print books rather than ebooks. Before I started this module I was petrified of public speaking, and sometimes just speaking in front of the class in a lecture, so choosing a module where I had to speak every week terrified me. But I gave myself some tough love and thought if I don’t do this, I’m going to regret it, because I’m going to have to speak in public in the future, so let’s get over it now.
Looking back now, yes the speeches petrified me, the first few were pretty horrendous. Not near the time they needed to be, my voice waving with nerves, and my heart pounding so hard in my chest my friends could probably see it jumping, I gradually started to see an improvement. Practice definitely makes perfect, the more you do something you’re scared of, the more natural it feels, and the less it becomes worked up in your mind.
Now I’ve finished this module the opportunity has come to give a reading for my Auntie’s wedding, and yes it’s a small wedding with close friends and family, but I still would have probably said no before I did this module. The thought of speaking and having everyone looking at me is leg shaking. But now it is almost exciting me, I feel like giving speeches are almost a form of vocal blog posts, I write them in the same manner and style, and I’ve really enjoyed writing speeches.
So my point is that we often avoid doing things in life that we are scared of, public speaking being one of the most common. But you don’t need to take a course to get better at it – whatever it is that is scaring you. Get out of your comfort zone, and just do it. Practice makes perfect, and you may even learn to love it. I’m certainly thankful for pulling myself out.