I’m a weirdo. I actually like public speaking. Sure, it’s a challenge, but one that offers so much if you can conquer it. A couple years ago I balked at the public speaking requirement in college, frustrated that I’d have to move out of my online classroom environment and attend a real live class. Thankfully I found the time in my schedule, as it was one of the most formative academic (if not just in general) experiences of my life.
Not only did I hone my ability to speak and communicate under pressure, but I watched an entire classroom do the same. Seeing twenty or so students from crazy different backgrounds come together and unleash their personalities during speeches was incredibly moving – even when the delivery might not have been. Hearing stories of failures or happy moments turned strangers into people I understood. It softened my view of others, and made me less judgmental.
Those were just the side benefits. During that class I was able to change public speaking from something I could stand, to something I was good at. It gave me the confidence to accept opportunities and put myself out there. In this instance, when my neighbor invited me to speak for Career Day at Bodine High School – one of the best in the nation – I jumped at the chance.
Even though I didn’t get to hear all the student’s stories, from my experience in class, I knew that they were just as complex as my own. It was a pleasure to tell them my story, in the hopes that it might further theirs. I shared the classroom with two amazing people: a real estate developer, and State Senator Larry Farnese. We all spoke to three different groups of students for about 15 min each time, and man, even though I love public speaking, it is exhausting!
All well. WORTH IT.