Although there are many things causing fear in my life, I’d have to say the biggest fear I’ve had in my life was with public speaking. The very first time I ever had to get up in front of a group of people was when I was in the 7th grade, when I gave a speech to my English class. My teacher told the class we could write and discuss whatever we wished, so long as there was no profanity. I chose to talk about the Greek culture, my heritage, such as how Christmas and Easter is celebrated amongst the Greeks.
I remember a surge of adrenaline rushing through me, along with my head pounding on the day of my presentation. My palms were sweaty, and so was my forehead. I felt light headed, and thought I was going to faint.
“Just take a few deep breaths, Kiki. And you’ll be alright. If it makes you nervous or scared to death to look directly at the class or into anyone’s eyes, just look slightly above them at the wall. Pick a focal point, and avert your eyes, moving from the center, to the right, to the center again, to the left and then back to the center throughout your presentation. Before you know it, your presentation will be over with. You’ll do a much better job than you think. Just have a little confidence and some belief in yourself. You can do this,” my teacher said encouragingly.
I did exactly as he said, but I was still a little nervous. My voice was a little shaky at the beginning. I was painfully shy back then, and scared to death to even talk to people. To find myself standing before a group of my peers was intimidating. Taking several deep breaths, I began my speech at first in a soft tone of voice. My teacher asked me if I could speak a bit louder so the rest of the class could hear me, and also learn something from my speech about the subject matter I chose to present.
I asked my teacher if I could start from the beginning, because my nerves got the best of me my first go at the speech, and consequently, folks weren’t able to hear the opening of my speech. He told me I could do so, but to take some deep breaths, and how I am capable of doing a great job.
Although I was still scared, I took several more deep breaths, and tried again. This time in my attempts, I didn’t think about where I was or who I was talking to. I didn’t even look at my classmates or my teacher. I found a spot on the wall and focused on it throughout the duration of time it took me to give my presentation. My hands were shaking, but I got through it. I spoke loud enough and very clear.
My classmates and my teacher enjoyed my presentation so much, I had a question and answer session, of which I rather enjoyed. It gave me such credibility to have my classmates and my teacher take such a strong interest in what I had to say.
© Copyright, Kiki Stamatiou, 2015