Apparently I am terrified of public speaking.
I learned of this attribute Tuesday night as I was standing in front of a room full of people. Monday evening I was asked if I would speak at a Meet Night for our fraternity the next evening. They wanted one of the newer brothers to speak about why s/he joined and what the fraternity means to them. I was happy to help and I thought I could provide some valuable insight about what I love so much about the organization.
I asked around to see what others had said when they were in my shoes. I reflected on my own answers to the questions. I even prepared a note card with points I wanted to cover.
I didn't think much of the meeting that day. I was more nervous/ excited to meet new people. But I was relaxed as I "flirted" with the 30+ prospective pledges in attendance as I got to know more about them. I was totally chill during the power point presentations about what the frat is all about.
Then it was my turn.
Now, I've had plenty of experience with public speaking over the years. I've given numerous presentations in school, pep talks to rally our soccer team before matches, even directed an entire marching band. I prepared to the best of my ability and felt confident about the things I had to say.
But when the president called my name, I immediately began sweating bullets. I don't know how my legs didn't give out as I made my way to the front of the room. As I began my spiel, I could hear my voice shaking like a vibrato. I had to kung-fu grip the podium to keep my hands from shaking out of my shoulder sockets.
I've never experienced anything like that before! And, based on brothers' reactions, I guess it went alright because I don't really remember. For the next 30 minutes my heart continued to race and my voice remained shaky.
Maybe it's that I'm out of practice since I haven't had to talk in front of large groups of people since high school. But I'm guessing it had to do with the fact that I didn't know most of the people in the room. Which is so silly because you would think that it would make things easier. These students were there to learn from people already in the frat to learn more. Compared to them, I was an expert on the subject. That should give you more confidence, right?
Oh well. I suppose it was a good experience. But I could have done without the sweating.