We all have to speak in public. Sometimes it may only be to tell the waitress what you want for your meal, but technically, that is still speaking in public. Talking in a mall, conversing at a ballgame, shouting at a reckless driver; all kinds of public speaking. They are all times when you have spoken while you are in public.
And yet, this does not get to the heart of the matter of speaking publically. When you speak publically, you are sharing your ideas, your thoughts, at the very least, your voice, with those around you, in public.
Something about that is intimidating for very many people. Even though “public speaking” is traditionally thought of as someone speaking eloquent words from a dais, sometimes it is just a friend talking in a circle of friends.
Why do we fear public speaking? My question is, which kind?
My vocation now has called me to speak weekly in front of a group of people, sharing ideas, insights, and inspirations. I hope I can be both eloquent and plain-spoken. I want to be understood, and not to speak with silly power.*
I have a relatively easy time preparing to speak each week, and I am becoming more and more comfortable when I do speak. My goal is to be able to be comfortable enough that those listening, rather than hearing my individual words, hear the message that is intended for their ears. My hope and prayer is that this happens whether I do a “good job” or not.
It seems that the times when I need to speak in a group, and I have to take the floor, are the time when it is harder for me to speak in public. I seem to lack that thing, whatever it is, that takes authority of the room and makes everyone listen. I want to learn that. I wonder how one acquires that. I don’t seem to have it, and so I am hesitant to try to take the room. It is not a fear, as it is, but it is a time when I am more nervous than others. I hope to be able to not only become more accustomed to public speaking, but also speaking publically.
*Silly Power: when the one person or group holds information that is relatively pointless, but those listening do not understand. Like acronyms or using shorthand or inside jokes. Horrible for ministry.