Public speaking is a fear among children and adults alike.  

In grade school, I recall public speaking in two instances.

In the fourth grade, my school partook in a regional public speaking contest. Each fourth grader was asked to choose a topic and present for seven minutes — tops. In the first round, you would present to your class, then your grade, school, and then represent the school in regionals. I didn’t make it past the first round. In the feedback form, my teacher recommended that I make eye contact with people, not the wall behind people. Also, please refrain from rocking on your feet.

In the sixth grade, we were asked to introduce ourselves to the class in a five-minute speech. Around the two-minute mark, someone let out a laugh. I froze.

Then, in the tenth grade I realized that public speaking is not about the presenter.

I reframed my once-fear.

The presenter is merely a performer and, as the performer, it is your job to make the audience comfortable. Consider secondhand embarrassment — arguably one of the worst feelings.

You hate feeling this.

It is your job to keep your audience from feeling this. Empathize with your audience.

For more tips on public speaking, visit here.

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