Imagine yourself standing in front of a crowd, prepared to recite poetry or tell a joke. Do you tremble in fear or worry about the way you look or how you will sound? Of course you do. Anyone who says that they do not feel at least a little uncomfortable before making a public address is lying. However, this is not a bad thing. There is no greater way to come back down to earth and gain confidence than to step onto the public stage and show the world your faults and, more importantly, your virtues. There is a sense of peace achieved after doing it, a sense of relief. This I why I believe in swallowing your pride and putting yourself out there for the world to judge.
Let me tell you a story about a teenager. In the early years of his high school career, he was very uncomfortable with himself. He didn’t like the way he looked, acted, or thought. He was uncomfortable in most classes and was very quiet in social situations. However, he took a class that turned that discomfort upside-down. In this class, he was forced to give presentations in front of a crowd of students who main goal was to berate him and tear down every argument he made. The students were relentless. A simple Freudian slip resulted in an hour of jeers and mocking. This class ended up being his favorite class and his most influential class of his entire high school career. Part of the reason why was because it forced him to go outside his comfort zone and it gave him confidence in public speaking. As you may have imagined, this student was me.
Flash forward two years, I am now a vocal leader in several of my classrooms and am very comfortable speaking to groups and leading. I feel much more relaxed in social situations and have found most of my classes much easier. All of this I can truly say is a result of being forced into an uncomfortable public speaking situation and exposing my personality to my peers. Everyone should experience public speaking and critiques as much as they can, because they will be a better person for it.
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