The Daily Post ~~ Phobia, Shmobia ~~ Public Speaking

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Phobia, Shmobia.”

Phobia, Shmobia

Fears evolve over time. What is one fear you’ve conquered?

Public Speaking. I was terrified of public speaking but in my last job as a manager at a major non-profit I was forced to overcome that fear when the Executive Vice President told me that I was going to give a presentation regarding a proprietary software our company had developed to the city agency that was funding the project. Actually it was a presentation and training in one. When she told me about the presentation of course I said yes and smiled because she was my boss but inside I was quaking like a volcano ready to explode. At first I was thinking of ways to get out of the task then I realized that would not bode well for my career so I buckled down, made a study of the software which was a social services database, created training materials, and dived right in.

When the day of reckoning came I did so well that the higher ups at the city agency came up to me, complimented me and one even said he wished I was working for his city agency! Wow!! Way to go me! A few years later after deciding to return to college for my Bachelor’s degree I had to take a Public Speaking class. Even though it was my job to give in-house and external software trainings the class still made me nervous. However the professor did her best to put everyone at ease and when she saw you had did your homework and were giving the speeches your best she would work with you. I received a B grade in this class.

African/Native American Queen
MMC 2002 Graduation

Now in my current job as a security guard at an art museum I deal with the public every day. No I don’t give speeches but this position has enabled me to step up my communications and customer service skills. Not only must I know the layout of the building and where everything can be found patrons often expect security officers to know something about the art also. In some cases I can provide them with information on the various artworks but if I don’t know I can suggest they take one of the many Free Tours the museum offers. You really have to think on your feet because you deal with visitors from all parts of the world and many different cultures. In fact if giving museum tours were a Paid Union job as opposed to a volunteer position done by docents, I would gladly jump on the bandwagon because I know nearly as much if not more than many of the tour guides. Even though I majored in English I really enjoy art and am constantly trying to self-educate myself on different art genres and styles either by reading books or watching videos about the world’s great artists.

So I’ve come a long way from that petrified young woman who thought she was going to faint in front of an audience. Now I’m a mature self-confident older woman who is happy to help people by sharing knowledge and insight on subjects I love.

15 thoughts on “The Daily Post ~~ Phobia, Shmobia ~~ Public Speaking

  1. You’ve done really well to overcome the limitations our minds sometimes set and the accompanying fears. Your phobia is no more. It takes some strength to manage that. You didn’t let your fears dictate your limits and went on to have a successful career.
    I on the other hand haven’t been able to answer a telephone for years though obviously I can pick up messages. The thought of speaking to a stranger scares me half to death and sometimes I’ll hide rather than answer the door.If I am caught and faced by someone I stutter so badly even I’m not sure what I’m saying which is why I rarely leave the house alone.That way there’s always someone to speak for me and I can move to the background.
    The mind is a funny thing isn’t it?
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

    1. From reading your eloquent posts I can’t imagine you having a fear of conversing with strangers but I suppose writing a blog and actually speaking face to face with someone are two different things.

      Yes we all have our fears. I still have a fear of heights. Every time I have to get on a plane I’m scared to death but I pray beforehand to stay calm. Even though I had to face my fear of heights while I was in the Army (I had to be a passenger in an Army helicopter and a C130) to this day I still don’t like to fly. Suffice to say I won’t be taking up mountain climbing or bungee jumping any time soon.

      1. My mom didn’t seem tough, although it never would have occurred to us to talk back to her. Later on I realized she was tough in a lot of ways I didn’t realize at the time. She let us go to do our own thing…I think that takes a lot of toughness. Thanks, Mom.

  2. So inspiring! I am horrible at public speaking and hope to overcome it one day. I know all it really takes is practice and the right preparation but for some reason I always seem to go wrong. Last time I gave it a try was a long time ago, I must admit. Some people are just naturals, as apparently you are too!

    1. It takes time. When I was a child I was very shy and hesitant to speak but as I got older I grew out of that. Each stage of life produces new challenges and I rise to meet them. Public Speaking was something I had to learn and by being forced to give software presentations over and over eventually I got better at it.

  3. Good for you Deborah that you faced your fear and did remarkably well! Also, it’s great that you are doing something you are so passionate about and I’m sure with all the people you come in contact with that your passion is very apparent. There are so many apathetic folks who work with the public you have to wonder why they don’t just get another job, they’re so miserable. It’s refreshing to happen upon someone who loves what they do.

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