Public Speaking

Laura Blankenship's "Social Software" workshop
Me, speaking, sometime in 2006ish.

Most people are not fans of public speaking.  I have a love-hate relationship with it.  It’s something I’ve loved doing over the last decade or so, but it doesn’t always go well, and once upon a time, I really and truly sucked at it.  It’s one of those things that I wish I could just do, but no, every time, I have to prepare, psych myself up and hope for the best.

I had the opportunity to speak in the last couple of days, and well, it wasn’t my best performance, so that caused me to reflect on my whole relationship with public speaking.

When I was in college, I gave poetry readings, where, of course, I had the poems in front of me.  Later, in grad school, I continued with the poetry reading and later, went to conferences to present papers, but in the humanities, one reads their papers.  Again, I had the text in front of me.  And while I got a few jitters from time to time, once I launched into the paper itself, I was fine.

Shortly after we moved here, I applied for a job where I had to give a talk, and well, there would be no text.  I put something together, and then I practiced it for Mr. Geeky.  And he told me it was awful.  And then I cried.  In my defense, it was late and there was a lot riding on this whole thing.  I worked more on it, and it turned out okay, and I ended up with the job.

In that job, I ended up doing a lot of public speaking, and I got kind of good at it sometimes.  And I’ve done a fair amount lately, informally and formally, but I watch other people speak, and I’m like, “Dang, they are so good.” So this is one of those things that I do that I still don’t feel like I have down, but wish I did.  Nothing to do but keep working at it.

A tweet from me speaking on Monday.