Wednesday, March 28

Public Speaking 101

So, I made it, I survived!

After listening to this great TED speech (see below) and some other circumstances that arose this last week, I decided to take the plunge and sign up for a public speaking class.

I don’t particularly like, wait...scratch that, I hate speaking in front of groups. It literally makes me panic. I am great at behind the scenes kind of stuff and excel when I am totally focused and alone. Put me in front of a group of people and I can’t remember my own name.

I like hanging out with my friends and family and I really enjoy meeting new people. But I have always said that speaking in front of a group is not my gift. Well, how will I ever know if I never try?

Some of my greatest times of growth have been through circumstances that pushed me out of my comfort zones: like “fish-out-of-water” circumstances. They are the times when I thought, “This is crazy, I can’t do this!” but then looking back…yes, it was crazy and I did do it. I survived.

So, within the first five minutes of class, our gregarious, young teacher tells us that he wants each of us, in turn to stand up, say our name, let everyone know why we are taking this class and tell one thing about ourselves. Then, with a big smile, he looks at me and says, “Why don’t you start!”


Right off the bat, I had to stand up and speak in front of the entire class. Arrrgggg!!!

I reluctantly stood up, took a deep breath and faked my best ‘confident smile’ and said, “Hi, my name is Inge, I am taking this public speaking class because I literally hate speaking in public and I want to work on that area for personal growth. I have a blog and enjoy sitting behind my computer screen where I can comfortably write, express and edit myself!”

It took my heart at least ten minutes to regulate itself, before the teacher tells us that each of us will stand up in front of the classroom and give a short speech before the end of the evening. Double Arrrgggg!!!

Yup! Nothing like hitting the ground running.

Most of the people in the class wanted to work on their fear of speaking in public as well. It felt good to be in a room full of people who had that common thread and could root for each other and give positive feed back.

There were two girls that had been in the United States for only ten months; one from China and one from Germany. They could barely speak English but they did their very best and did great. I only had to work through my fears and they had to work through their fears and the language barrier.

All in all, it was fun, nerve-racking, but fun!

It was nice to do something for myself for a change; it had been a long time since I was sitting in a classroom. But I came home with a new energy, a smile and a rush of adrenaline and it felt great!

I believe that God wants us to use our gifts to glorify Him.

It is our job to figure what our gifts are,
fine tune them
and get working.

My favorite part, which keeps repeating itself in my head is, “My year of speaking dangerously!” I love it!

Susan Cain: The power of introverts

What will this year be for you?


  1. Good for you! :) (I liked hearing it again even though you told me yesterday).

    Thank you for linking to that talk, too, I need to go listen to it.

  2. Thank you for sharing the Susan Cain talk, Inge. As I get older, there are some days I "wake up" midstream in the day and catch myself subconsciously seeking a place to spend the rest of the time in thoughtful and creative solitude. If I didn't know better, I'd say I'm a closet introvert. :o

    I hope you find your place of measured extrovertism in this speech class, but remember, "There's zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.” (Susan Cain)

  3. After reading the post, I was inspired and decided then and there that I want to be a public speaker because becoming one give you the opportunity to inspire people...

    Sales Speaker

  4. Thanks for the encouragement, Laura! : )


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