I have an irrational fear of public speaking.
That’s probably an understatement. I
should be am the poster child for speech anxiety.
Wait a minute. Um, isn’t speaking in and to the public what I do for a living?? Yes my friends, the universe has a sick sense of humor.
Unlike many in this industry, and by this I mean the media, I didn’t get in it for fame. That is the last, if at all, on my list of things to achieve.
Bliss for me is sitting in my little corner of oblivion, fluttering through life unnoticed.
The sight of girls whoring their bodies on Instagram to gain a following, is cringe-worthy-maximus, but then I ask myself can I blame them? They’re simply feeding the shallow demands of human nature.
I did want to be in the media. Just not in front of the camera.
My creative juices crave an outlet for expression and that was always going to be through writing, directing or producing. The universe had other plans of course, because when I went for an interview at ESPN, they asked me to audition as an anchor despite having zero prior experience. I got the part, and so the story continues.
Back to this irrational fear!
I can talk to a mic for radio, I can talk to a camera for TV.
But my mind literally goes blank when there’s any more than 3 pairs of eyes looking back at me, hanging on the words spilling out of my mouth. My thought process goes something like:
“They’re judging how I speak. Are my facial expressions weird?”
“I’m not articulate”
“My voice is funny. I’m definitely NOT funny. Is that why they’re not paying attention?”
“What if I just passed out right now? Now, that would be funny!”
The voices in my head have a life of their own.
Let’s just say, the very first emcee job I got years ago for a car company I shall not mention, totally bombed. I was throughly prepared with my scripts, cue cards and had all the information I needed. I just didn’t have the guts. And that ladies and gentlemen is 90% of what you do need when hosting an event. I had zero. No, I had minus 193.
I was a nervous wreck. I stuttered, my sentences hung mid air, my voice wasn’t loud enough and half the time I was just lost. It’s safe to say they never called me back for another event.
Fortunately for me though, other companies did.
Practice, hard work and of course experience, eventually calmed down the voices in my head. I stopped worrying about how I looked or sounded, and focused more on being relatable. I learnt that if you talk to an audience like you’re talking to one friend, you naturally warm up to everyone in the room. At the end of the day, it’s about the experience and how you make people feel as opposed to what’s on the outside (says the girl who takes 2 hours to get ready for an event).
I never thought I’d see the day when I can say, I hosted 3 events last week. What a difference a day, years if you’re a late bloomer like me, makes.
Not going to lie, those voices in my head still pop up from time to time but mostly just moments before I go on stage. Once I’m up there, you’re going to have to yank the mic away or even remind me about the agenda because I can’t stop talking and go off tangent.
What can I say, I’m either black or white, up or down. No room for grey area in my world. Go big or go home, right?
How does one become funny though? Do you just inhale funny air?
Someone needs to lend me a sense of humor. Wait, the universe, you’re funny right?
I got my rocket ready and I’m coming for you.