I was terrified at speaking in front of an audience. The definition of an audience for me at that time was two people and up. Surprisingly enough, when I was a child I had absolutely no inhibitions of speaking in public. I remember I was chosen in kindergarten to tell tales when we had open classes (something usual in Albania where other teachers from other kindergartens come and experience a class to get inspired). I was later on at elementary school chosen to recite poems in front of the whole school.
Somehow, somewhere I also learned about the fear of speaking in front of others and it got immensely strong. I would tremble, blush and made myself small. I would not be able to utter anything. It accompanied me through all the years of university and masters and it didn’t get any better. When working in groups, I would go present only if I had to, always asking others to do it instead of me.
A really good friend of mine, while we were volunteering together to organize a TEDx salon in Copenhagen, introduced me to Toastmasters – a public speaking club. I knew I had to confront my fears and agreed to go along. That has also been a journey of testing boundaries and getting out of my comfort zone.
I admit, I still am nervous when I present and speak in front of an audience, but my nerves now are more related to excitement and desire to connect with the audience and transmit my message in an understandable and eloquent manner.