Public Speaking. It is a fear for many people, including me.
Growing up, I loved to speak in front of audiences. I even competed in public speaking competitions in school – in French nonetheless! And then something changed. Perhaps it was at university when professors would cut people’s ideas down without batting an eyelash; or maybe it is because most of us don’t get the opportunity to speak in front of strangers very often, so we build it up into something scary.
It’s just like riding a bike, right?
When I was asked to share my story at an event last week I jumped at the chance. I am, after all, a storyteller. This should be easy! But then fear started to set in.
The event was called Aha! Stories of Innovation and Action in Vancouver for CityStudio, a local organization working with university students to help implement their ideas into action. As I mentally prepared myself for this wonderful opportunity, several questions starting rolling around in my head. This led to the bubbling up of that dreaded word…stage fright.
Q: How many people would be in the room.
[hands starting to sweat]
Q: Who else will be sharing their story?
A: Revered public figures and change makers like Mark Brand, Kevin Millsip and Susan Grossman. Eight in total, many of whom have presented at local events like Pecha Kucha and Raincity Chronicles.
[hives starting to break out]
The day of the event, a friend of mine introduced me to Brene Brown on TED – she speaks about the power of vulnerability, and it was just the reminder I needed. Storytelling is all about being vulnerable – you let people into your world, your passion, your views and yes, your fears. It is why we connect so deeply through stories. And so I got up on stage and told my story. It was empowering to embrace the vulnerability and see it for courage.
You can listen to my story, as well as the stories of other movers and shakers in Vancouver here:
Every now and again, even us storytellers need a good reminder.