The Shyness Project

Archive for the tag “public speaking fear”

Second Semester of College: Almost Complete

Well my second semester of college will be completed in less than two weeks.  2012 is certainly flying by; I can’t believe it’s May already.  It’s been an emotional and stressful year so far for me, but I’ve learned a lot from it.

I gave a presentation in women’s history class last Thursday which I was nervous about since I hadn’t had to do much of any public speaking in months, but it went really well.  Somehow I managed to not get panicky before my turn to present and spoke with ease and confidence, and made the class laugh too.  I’m glad that my speaking ability hasn’t diminished since I haven’t been up in front of anyone in a while.

I had to give a little presentation in my cinema class the week before too, which wasn’t a big deal to me either.  The girl behind me though came in late to class as we were watching a movie, and at the end the instructor asked her to give her presentation.  I could tell she was caught off guard and I heard her voice shaking and trembling like she was about to cry or have some sort of anxiety attack so I turned around quick and said, “Hey, would you rather do it next week?”  She nodded, so I called over to the professor, “Can she do it next week?”  He said sure (he’s a nice guy and a lot of people have been giving their presentations later than planned) and asked if she could give it Monday at 9 and she whispered, “Yes sir”, but he didn’t hear her so I told him that would be good.  She looked relieved and the instructor seemed to pick up on what was going on too and seemed glad that I was looking out for her.  It’s cool to be on the opposite side of things now and to help people out who have fears of speaking in front of the class.  Hopefully she will be ready to give her presentation this week and she won’t skip class because of it, but I had a feeling that if she had to give it that day that she might burst into tears up there or have some kind of anxiety attack.

Other than that I’ve been doing good.  I’ve been learning more about myself this year and am getting a better idea about what I want in life.  In August I’ll be moving out on my own with some friends to take classes at a different community college, so that will be exciting.  I think it will be a great experience for me.  Hope you are all doing well!

Grammarian / Wizard of Ahs

Last night at Toastmasters I came in without a role for the first time.  I had missed the previous two sessions of Toastmasters since I was away on vacation in Santa Barbara.  I was a little more hesitant about attending than usual because I thought if I didn’t have a role I would for sure be picked for impromptu speaking with Table Topics.  Nervous thoughts floated in my head about not going, and my dad was busy working on a presentation for work so we could have stayed home.  I read some of my blog comments though and decided that avoiding it was not an option for me.  My promise to myself was to feel the fear and do it anyway, and I didn’t want to let myself down.

We arrived at the meeting and they needed someone to be a Grammarian to listen out for ahs, ums, and sos, so I offered to do that when no one else volunteered.  I’d never done that role before but I knew that I would have to keep alert for it to catch anything like that. Usually it is rare and difficult to hear more than a couple of ums.

Being the grammarian helped me focus on my listening skills, and I did catch an um, uh, and so.  I really did have to listen carefully because they were very faint and wouldn’t be noticed unless you were looking out for them.

I did not get picked for Table Topics, to my surprise.  This was kind of good because I was sitting near the back for once (I always sit near the front) and this made it harder for me to want to go up to the podium.  The further back I am, the bigger the room seems, and the more I want to stay to myself.  Not having gone to a meeting in two weeks also made me realize how helpful it is to go each week. It keeps you in the right mind set and fills you with momentum.  My mind was going blank on the table topics as I listened to the introductions, and I don’t know what I would have said if I had been chosen.  I’ve only done table topics twice so I suppose the more I do it the more I’ll get comfortable with it.  The impromptu speaking segment still makes my heart race.

Near the end of the meeting Chole brought up the idea of starting a mentorship program within the club.  She went around the room and asked each of us to say what we thought our strength was in Toastmasters that we might be able to help someone else with.  Initially I didn’t quite think I couldn’t think of any strengths in Toastmasters that I could help anyone with, but as I had more time to think about it I thought of something I could say.  Many of the others also felt like they didn’t really have a certain strength until someone brought up some ideas of what they thought their strengths were.  Some of them said they are really good at being the Toastmaster, others the Table Topics Master, or are good at adding humor to their speeches, etc.  I said that I’m fairly new, but I think writing is one of my strengths.  I’m able to brainstorm ideas fairly quickly for speeches and then once I start writing them out the speech just flows.  Windy joked that she wants me to write her speeches then, which made us all laugh.  Chole said being able to brainstorm ideas like that is quite valuable and is something that could definitely help someone.

At the end they assigned roles for next week.  I thought of volunteering for Speaker #2, but I wasn’t sure if I was going to have the time to practice my speech enough before Wednesday.  I finished writing it yesterday.  I told Larry I’d email him if I thought I could do it though.  I think I can, I just don’t want to put added pressure on myself if I feel like I’m not ready.  I’m starting my first semester of college next week and that is already a lot of stress for me.  I still am not all that familiar with how to get to each of the two colleges I’m taking classes at, and have hardly driven on the highway before (and never by myself).  I’m hoping to practice this weekend though so I’ll be feeling a little more prepared by Monday.  (*Update: I emailed Larry a few hours ago and told him I would give the speech on Wednesday!  I practiced a lot today and I am feeling more prepared.)

*Psst: Here’s a link to the Toastmasters website: http://www.toastmasters.org/

It has some good info on there about public speaking and about Toastmasters.  There is also a Q&A that I just read about a guy who said he is shy and introverted and how Toastmasters has helped him.

http://www.toastmasters.org/MainMenuCategories/FreeResources/10QuestionsFor/ArunSridhar.aspx

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