I’d like to share with you some insight on speaking in public, as a teacher and a researcher on the topic, in case it can help you re-consider any trouble you might have with this issue.
Most people suffer a lot when they have to speak in public. However, most of us speak in public very often in the day — teachers, particularly, as part of the demands in their job.
So the question is: why do we consider ourselves unable to do it at times?
Overcoming fears and complexes are all efforts that, when successful, make us braver, more courageous. When we consider that people in class are unthreatening, our equals, nice people who will not harm us, it’s much easier to speak to them all in class, and this training allows us to control our fear when we need to speak in public in examinations or in particularly threatening work situations.
There’s also this other issue: we need to assess how private or emotional it is what we are saying. If it’s just an exercise, where our intimate world is not presented, we should really find enough strength to control our fear.
But perhaps the fear comes from being told we’ve made mistakes. In this case, we need to rationalize the situation and understand that mistakes are opportunities for learning, not something that belittles us, or humiliates us.
Sometimes we feel bad about our mistakes for transfer reasons: we transfer the feeling of guilt, or the shame, or the uneasiness we feel for having made certain mistakes in life that relate to our relationships or inner life, to other fields which would not have triggered that shame or uneasiness. It’s like in dreams: sometimes we change the image of the person the dream is about, because we cannot cope with that being the person we’re actually dreaming of. When we realize this is so, we liberate the burden on this other arena, and open up the opportunity to do something about the mistake we made that really hurt.
Guilt has never been a good resource in problem solving, because it freezes us. We don’t do anything about it because we’re overwhelmed, we feel so bad! In contrast, acknowledging mistakes encourages us to work more positively to avoid them the next time that could happen. In this way, it makes us better, more human, more intelligent.
We need to learn to be confident and humble at the same time. We need to stop putting this pressure on mistakes. Researchers, artists, creative people in all walks of life KNOW mistakes are crucial for learning and discovery and exploration and making progress!
Learning to learn, to perceive others as equals, to use mistakes positively, all of this works to our advantage in every way, in every realm of our life.
We should transfer our ability to speak in public in certain scenarios, to other scenarios which we feel are threatening. And above all, we need to learn to trust others. If we refuse to learn all the violence our culture teaches us, our being together can simply be a gift, a possibility to keep each other company the time we spend together, making the most of it all!
Change your viewpoint, your approach — you may discover things are way easier than you thought, that your skills and knowledge are greater than you thought, that people are nicer than you thought, that life is sweeter when we help!