Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Phobic about speaking in meetings

Speaking of monsters, today I felt my fear of public speaking looming over me like a taunting bully... I just got finished talking in a teleconference and I feel like a total toad. I'm dealing with subject matter completely alien to me. I've taken a few background trainings to get to speed with what everyone is talking about and looked up the definitions of dozens and dozens of acronyms, but I'm still trying to make sense of the jumble. Visio charts, Excel Spreadsheets, Project Plans, Case Scenarios. I use all of them as Egyptologists used the Rosetta Stone to figure out what the fuck is going on. I'm getting there, but I still don't feel confident enough or as confident as I would like to feel. People have given me advice and said that I should lie about understanding the project, and I just cannot take this advice.

Of course, I probably did okay but I felt myself doing a total Bob Newheart, and at one point couldn't find the words I needed to express what I was going to say. I tried to introduce myself without sounding like I was babbling ....and I was interrupted by someone who curtly pointed out that I was not sharing anything in netmeeting. It may have been the mildly irritated tone of his voice that got to me, but I just felt my confidence drop. I always feel that in this corporate world, you're always expected to sound like you know what you're doing even when you don't. I have a problem with this because I feel like I'm lying.

Others suffer from this phobia, as I've discovered, and they too seek advice on how not to look like an ass.

And I found someone who has the very same fear gives some very good advice:

Someone suggested I join the Toastmasters group, but I don't feel comfortable talking with that group of people at least not here at work. The strange thing is, I feel more confident speaking in actual conference room meetings as opposed to teleconferences. Somehow just listening to the hanging silence on the phone gets to me more than a bunch of people staring at me.


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