My knees begin to tremble, my hands shake, my throat is dry and my voice is no more than a whisper.
I’ve been asked to speak in front of a group of people.
That is why I avoid public speaking. I tried to volunteer in college for many activities to get over my fear and build my confidence but each attempt was a disaster. I can go on stage and show off my clothes (as in a fashion show) but if you ask me to speak, I’m a complete failure.
And here I was talking to this lady about having a book reading at her place (she has many activities for children including mini-golf and coffee for the adults). She agreed and we set a date.
As I prepared for the book reading (made my props and practiced reading with them) I thought to myself “What have I got myself into? I’ve never done a book reading before and I’m not sure even sure what it’s supposed to be like. Who am I kidding?”
As I got closer to the date I thought I should have just hired someone to do it or even better got someone for free to read the books for me like my sister who is just great at public speaking. I even suggested this to her but she refused and told me to stop thinking that way.
The evening before a couple of people excused themselves telling me they couldn’t make it. OK no problem, we still have quite a few people coming with their kids. By the morning of the event I didn’t know if anyone was coming. What a disaster. I’ve been preparing for a month and nobody is going to turn up!
In the end we had a few people who came with their kids to listen to the book reading, not quite the number we had been hoping for, but at least enough to put on a show. Now let’s hope the knees keep up and the shaking hands are not visible to everyone.
I was still a bit nervous when I started but then something happened. I connected with the kids. They were listening and answering my questions. My nervousness disappeared. I didn’t even mind that the parents were also sitting with their children because they were listening too. My props were a hit. At the end I read a few of my poems as well.
And then all the children came to talk to me and buy my books. It felt just great.
After my first book reading I did another one, this time at my son’s school. I read to over 100 children in 5 sessions over 2 days and I didn’t feel nervous at all. Now I know I can do it. I can speak in public, at least to children.
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