Public speaking and me

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Susan Cain Photo is of Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.

I’ve always disliked public speaking. Oral presentations in school made me a nervous wreck. Group presentations were okay because I only had to speak for a couple of minutes. I’d grip my notes, stare down at my paper, and stutter out a few words. Eventually the more extroverted group members would take over and continue the presentation.

Individual oral presentations were my own personal hell. I’d wake up in the morning feeling sick to my stomach. My nerves would be on edge and my whole body would be shaking. While speaking, my hands would shake, my voice would tremble and I’d stutter out slightly related words. I couldn’t speak extemporaneously so I’d read my notes word for word. Then as soon as I sat down, I would start to analyze everything. What I’d said, what I’d forgotten to say…

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