How I Overcame with Public Speaking Fear

Updated October 30, 2021

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How I Overcame with Public Speaking Fear essay

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For years, I had been afraid of public speaking. I avoided it whenever possible. If I had no other choice but to speak in front of one of my classes, it was always disastrous. I dreaded everything leading up to a presentation. The teacher pulling names out of a hat. The teacher calling my name to present. Getting my materials ready. Walking up to the front of the class. And then the worst part, just before I began. I would look up and see twenty-something pairs of eyes staring at me, and the teacher, red pen and clipboard in hand, preparing to tear into my presentation.

I try to remember the mechanics. Speak loudly and clearly. Look at the audience. Don’t read from the paper. But then anxiety kicks in. What if the other kids make fun of me? What if I get a poor grade? My face reddens. My head starts spinning. My neck and ears burn white hot. I stick the paper two inches in front of my face and do a quick, cold read. I barely hear what I’m saying. All that I want is for the presentation to end. I finish, and quickly walk back to my seat, staring at the floor.

This continued for countless class presentations. Nothing ever changed–until my junior year of high school, that is.

I had joined Model United Nations, or MUN, because I was curious to see how students my age would attempt to tackle global issues. At MUN conferences we meet in small groups, debate some of the problems the global community faces, and draft resolutions to address them. As my interest in international relations increased, I wanted to become more involved. Last year, my friends convinced me that I should run for vice president. I was unsure at first, but I decided this was a good opportunity. Little did I know that running would entail delivering a speech in front of more than 100 of my classmates. Enter the panic.

I prepared a speech and rehearsed several times the night before to make sure I didn’t stutter or screw up. When the time came to speak, I was sweating like a dog. A very large group ogled me. I told myself all I had to do was read the index card. It was all there. I walked up to the podium and took a look around. I saw two friends in the back, smiling. I took a deep breath and had a small revelation. They were excited to hear my speech. They wanted me to do well. At that moment I felt as if the whole audience was on my side, rooting for me. I don’t know what possessed me to do this, but I put the index card down and spoke from the heart.

I already knew what I wanted to say, I just needed to make the words come out of my mouth. So I spoke. I explained what I would do and why they all should vote for me. Afterward, I didn’t feel relieved that it was over. I felt like I actually did well. Everyone applauded me. I walked back to my seat as my friends patted me on the back. An immense feeling of satisfaction came over me, something I had never in my life felt after public speaking.

The next day, the results were in: I had won. My victory in the campaign, although sweet, was not as sweet as the victory over myself. I was no longer afraid of speaking in front of large groups as I once had been. All it took to overcome my fear was a few minutes of courage. I even enrolled myself in speech class to develop and perfect my communication skills. Past the fear, I can now focus on what I am trying to say and how best to say it.

How I Overcame with Public Speaking Fear essay

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