Facing a Fear

My hands begin to sweat, and my heart begins to race. It picks up so quickly that it is feels as though it is going to explode from my chest! The further along I go, the worse it becomes. This is me in front of a crowd. Nervous. Just thinking about it gets me worked up. I'm going to share a secret: For as long as I can remember, I have avoided public speaking *gasp*. For me, it's a big deal. And, I'm really tired of "it" being a big deal, too. I want that to change.

Some of you may remember me mentioning that Cody and I joined PACT. This conservation group is the local chapter of the NC Wildlife Federation. When I became a member, I also took on the responsibility of Newsletter & Media Chair since they had open positions. I wanted to help.
This was my first time doing a newsletter, but I was willing t to learn.

Erin (The President) gave me full creative control, which just made the task even more daunting. But, I managed to come up with some ideas after scratching around on the internet. For the record, the term "scratching around" equates to hours and hours!! I've become a lot more comfortable with creating these sorts of things in the past few months.

"So...what does this have to do with public speaking?"

Well, Christopher North, the Conservation Director at the NC Wildlife Federation, asked if I would give a little talk about the newsletter I do for PACT at a Leadership Training Summit this weekend in Charlotte. Other local chapters will take part, too. It sounds a lot bigger than it really is. Anyway, my first instinct when I read his request email was, HECK NA!! followed by, I CAAAN'T DO THAT!! Then, I decided not to respond immediately with my usual gut reaction. Instead, I gave myself a little time.

I am choosing to thrust myself OUT of my comfort zone! For real. I'm freaking out!
I need encouragement. And LOTS of it.
Wish me luck!

Newsletter Samples
*The PACT logo was NOT created by me.


  1. you will be just fine. it is the number one phobia though, speaking in front of a crowd, so there are many of us out here that understand. good luck.

  2. newsletter looks great!!! you'll be fine--good luck. :)

  3. I see you as one of the board members :) The newsletter is great!

    It's good to push yourself.

  4. the newsletter looks really nice. i'm right there with you on the public speaking thing. i've never done it in fact. but i imagine you'll do just fine because it's about something you have a passion for.

  5. Hi Jessica! Sending along my support. Bravo for leaving your comfort zone. You'll be great! Greetings to Cody!

  6. i used to have the same phobia, so i can totally understand. all through school, uni and grad school, i found excuse after excuse not to speak in front of a crowd. even though i am always fine when i am teaching (be it in a school or in college), i always got very nervous when i had to speak in any context that didnt involve me in a teaching situation.

    a few years ago, i was asked to speak at a national level function to an audience of 800, including all top government officials. i was a state of complete panic. but i prepared well in advance, and even though i felt like jelly inside when i did it, everyone said that because i spoke slowly, smiled a lot, made eye contact with people around the hall, and didnt use my notes much, i didnt look or sound nervous at all.

    since then, i've been less daunted at the prospect, but i still need time to prepare before i can speak. i have another large event coming up in a few weeks - this time to face an audience of nearly 1000!

    big hug to you. you'll do well, i'm sure :)

  7. good luck - I bet you will do awesome. :) (I'm scared of public speaking too - what helps me is to sit at a table and talk for some reason)

  8. Way to go. I am sure you will feel huge amount of accomplishment after you give the speech. I wish you luck but I m sure with all knowledge and scratching around on the internet you’ll be fine.

    I admire your courage to face a fear.

  9. I am very proud of you - and LOVe the newsletter. It looks incredible- but I am not surprised.

    you are an amazing artist----

  10. I'm with you on that particular fear. The way I combatted it was to have everything totally written out--I know reading doesn't sound that good but I wanted to have it all there in case I forgot--you can still go verbatim but you have a backup. I also always tried to have handouts and show slides or a powerpoint so that the people wouldn't be looking at me but at the screen or their handouts. For smaller groups, I would also provide snacks so they would be concentrating on eating. Anything to get the focus off me. It usually worked and I even kind of liked it...kind of.

  11. I'll echo the others... you will do brilliantly :)

    Breathe. Relax. Look at those faces and remember they also have to sit on the toilet like everyone else, nothing to be scared about.

    Just don't imagine any of them nekkid or you'll burst out laughing!

  12. Hey friend,.... relax. You do public speaking every time you write a post on your blog,.. you just can't SEE your audience! I'm cheering you on!

  13. I used to be extremely nervous speaking in front of a crowd. Large, small, it really didn't matter. The more you do it, though, the easier it gets. I still get a little nervous, but I no longer freak out about it.

    I realize I'm here a bit late, but for next time, just keep going over your topic. Don't write it down word for word, but use bullet points of what you want to talk about - lots of them if you need to. Start out with some humor - it will set you at ease and help you connect to the audience and them to you. And breathe.

    Good for you for facing your fear, instead of turning down the opportunity. I'm sure it went just fine!

  14. The newsletter looks great. You did a nice job with the layout. Good luck on your speaking engagement! I'd be nervous too.