As you may know, I make my living as a professional speaker, presenting to thousands of people around the world on a range of inclusion, empowerment, and leadership topics. I hope you’ll believe me when I say this, but there was a time when I was more junior in my career that I felt really uncomfortable presenting to audiences and speaking at meetings.
It’s true! Unless I was leading a meeting, I had a really hard time speaking up, and I definitely wouldn’t have asked questions during a Q&A period, and I often sat silent in learning sessions.
I now understand that the reason I feared speaking up was that I was afraid of being judged for what I said. I was afraid that people would think I was stupid if I said something wrong or if I sounded timid or if my grammar wasn’t perfect. As I was often the only woman of color in the room, I was already feeling pressure about how others would perceive me. I was often frozen.
But there’s something really critical that I did that helped me to get to a place where I became comfortable speaking to audiences, speaking at meetings, and more — and I became a professional speaker over a decade ago, so I know it works!
In this video I talk about the important thing I did to tackle my fear of speaking in public. I hope that it will help you too.
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