Overcoming My Anxiety in Public Speaking
REFLECTIVE PAPER Public Speaking "Overcoming My Anxiety in Public Speaking" Speaking before an audience has always been on top of the list of my greatest fears. I am aware that every once in a while-unless a person is mute, of course-one is expected to express himself or herself before a crowd. That is one of the inevitable episodes in life that I have always dreaded to face.
As a special educator of children from Kinder to 6th Grade, my main responsibility is to ensure the academic and behavioral development of children under my attention. Part of my duty is to periodically discuss the progress of each child before a group of people, peers and educators like myself. I truly love my job and enjoy working with children but I find it such a struggle to speak before an audience. Other people may find it odd that an educator like me who specializes on effective instruction of students with learning disabilities would have a terrible anxiety over public speaking. But yes, that is the truth.
I have always been shy and diffident when it comes to dealing with people especially with strangers. It really amazes me how other people can effortlessly carry out conversation amidst a crowd in utter confidence. In my point of view, they possess quite an impressive talent and sheer luck of which I am not gifted with. While others can express themselves in a circle of people with natural ease, I prefer to be in company with a few people I feel most comfortable with. I see myself as the type of person who’d rather bask in the shadows than dance in the limelight and be thrown with flowers and praises, so to speak.
True, the times had passed and the seasons had changed. Gone are the days of school graded speeches and critiqued oratorical exercises. I am now a professional. I have achieved confidence and pride in my accomplishments over the years. But perhaps public speaking is my childhood fear that I had never really fully outgrown.
As expected in my profession, I am required to present the children’s condition including the approach and methodology applied in Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings. Armed with my evaluation papers and a few bulleted note cards outlining my whole presentation-which I rehearsed over and over until the last minute-I still felt as if a full bucket of nervousness was drenching my whole body. The situation catapulted me to my primary and secondary years and once again I am again a high school student before the analytical eye of my professor and the mocking glare of my classmates. as if every eye is staring at the flaws in my face, counting every drop of sweat, listening to the quivering of my voice, watching the trembling of my hands, and making a mental note of every mistake that would come out of my mouth. But I had to shake off the imaginary time warp and forced myself to get a rock-hard grip on the present. I strived to produce a genuine smile as I acknowledged the audience and proceeded to my presentation. The discussion went pretty well although there were few verbal lapses which I believe is forgivable enough. It’s a total relief that it’s over and done with.
There will be succeeding occasions when I would have to speak again but I know that it wouldn’t be as hard as it had in the previous times. I may not be the best speaker and not everyone may appreciate my speech but never again will I dread the opportunity to impart the knowledge which I believe is of benefit to the listeners. It is my belief that these speaking opportunities will enhance my growth as a person and contribute to the betterment of my service in my chosen profession. And the most rewarding part Being able to say not just the things inside my head, but most of all, having a wonderful opportunity to express my heart’s content in full confidence and conviction.