I read an article that actually says that speaking in front of a crowd is considered the number one fear of the average person. I found that amazing – number two was death! That means to the average person if you have to be at a funeral, you would rather be in the casket than doing the eulogy.” The fear of public speaking is the most common fear and prevents many people from achieving their potential. Imagine if you were comfortable speaking in public and took every opportunity in this class to polish your presentation skills, how would your life improve? Growing up in my home country of Cambodia, my family had a legacy of amazing singers and dancers. My uncle won 2nd place in a National singing competition before I was born – so my parents believed the common stereotype that all Cambodians were blessed with the amazing gift to sing. My Dad was a pastor so I had the opportunity to sing on stage with my sisters every Sunday growing up.
I didn’t have a good voice but that did not stop me from singing my heart out since I loved to worship and no one ever told me that I couldn’t sing well. My singing career went well until I went to high school and I was suddenly self-conscious of everything (my clothes, my looks, acne, etc.) During a familiar song I was really engrossed in a song, closed my eyes, and sung my heart out. Even though the worship leader stopped, I just kept going without noticing that I was singing by myself. For some reason, I opened my eyes, and was shocked to see everyone looking at me. I quickly shut my mouth and was so embarrassed. Later on, some guys cracked a joke about my performance that devastated me. I secretly cried and then vowed to never humiliate myself before a crowd again. Several years later, a friend coaxed me to enroll in a Voice class at IVC. I thought I was going to just sing in groups and learn voice exercises.
My face went white several weeks into the semester when I learned that singing a solo was a major part of the class. Raise your hand if you ever sung a solo before…… I was horrified at the thought of standing before the class by myself. It’s kind of like this 1st speech – I’m terrified again. I stood before my Voice classmates, sung “Shout to the Lord” and got a “B” for my solo. Not bad but far from being the stellar singer that my parents always dreamed I would become. No worries though because that experience is helping me right now to feel more comfortable speaking before you today. Much of the fear of public speaking revolves around Failure, so here is my definition: “Failure is having a goal and allowing the fear to prevent the first step” Let’s take this next step towards becoming more comfortable speaking in public today; if we do this together, success awaits us.