I remember the first time I spoke in front of a large audience. The arrangements had been made months in advance, at which time it sounded enticing, even glamorous.
Truthfully, I was far more interested in the idea of me as a speaker, rather than concerning myself with the pesky details of the event itself. Besides, how hard could it be, to talk about something you know in front of a group of strangers?
But walking in to the cavernous auditorium that morning, it suddenly dawned on me: I have not quite thought this through. My dry mouth hung open as I gazed around the theatre, ultimately fixing my eyes on the enormous stage looming up front.
“Are you sure this is the right room?” I nervously checked in with my host. He just smiled and gave me a thumbs-up, while hundreds of people filed in to fill up the seats. The delicate little butterflies in my stomach now turned into violent, wrenching badgers, desperately trying to claw their way out.
I managed to complete the twenty-minute presentation without losing control of any major bodily functions, and made my exit to lackluster applause. I then proceeded directly to my hotel room, whereupon I curled up into a fetal position for the next two hours.
They say that, for most people, the fear of public speaking is worse than the fear of death, and I can see why. My talk was a disaster, and I wanted nothing more than to just hide out for a few months until the laughter died down.
But, of course, I didn’t do that. I eventually got up, splashed some cold water on my face, and headed down to re-join the conference proceedings.
Someone told me once that fear goes hand in hand with faith and fulfillment.
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