MC Tater Leaves His Comfort Zone

I am not someone who enjoys speaking in front of other people. I’m somewhat OK talking to a group of teenagers, but add any adults to the mix and my anxiety kicks in. Add several hundred adults(including our CEO) to the mix and I feel the need to vomit. That is where I am at the moment. I will not sleep well tonight and I envy the people who can just look forward to a day out of the branch tomorrow.

It all started two years ago when they needed someone to help with a skit at our professional development day. They needed someone to make very boring announcements. I make boring announcements at least once a week at work, so I was perfect for the job. I am about as boring as you can find. The role made for me. So, I went on stage and made some really bad boring announcements. People who don’t work with me thought I was acting. People who know me know that it was not an act. I really am that boring.

The next year rolls around and they need someone to take over the emcee duties. They remember that I was dumb enough to say yes to going on stage the year before, so they assume I am still not smart. They are correct.  I’m possibly even dumber than I was a year ago because I say yes even though I hate public speaking. What was I thinking? I wasn’t. Not thoughts at all. It’s completely empty up there. So, I am now committed(or should be) to speaking in front of several hundred coworkers, including the CEO. I muddle my way through and don’t screw up to badly. People are nice and pretend they enjoyed it so now I am invited back for a second year. I’m thinking maybe I should be really boring on purpose(be myself, I mean) so they won’t invite me back, but I’m afraid that no matter what I do, short of insulting the boss or using inappropriate language, I am in this until I retire. I don’t know who I feel sorry for the most, myself or the people who have to listen to me. It’s a toss-up.

So, now I am less than 24 hours from being on stage and I already feel sick. Why did I do this to myself? Why are they subjecting my coworkers to a day of me again? Why did I ever say yes in the first place? Why do people pretend I’m good at it? So many unanswered questions.

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3 Comments

  1. As someone who despised public speaking I feel you. As someone who would rather take a vow of silence, I cringe with you (just kidding about the vow…I do like to talk, just rarely).

    Somehow I landed in a job where I talk for a living. I now routinely speak one on one, one to a few, one to 300 and everywhere in between, all day… every day.

    I finally figured out that for me the problem with public speaking was that I cared what people thought of me. I don’t any longer. I broke my “give a damn” and it has done wonders for my public speaking ability. I do the best I can and don’t worry about the rest.

    I don’t recommend the path I took to bust my “give a damn”. It was a unexpected but pleasant side effect of a rather harrowing life experience. I do highly recommend busting it though for more reasons than public speaking.

    Good luck with the emcee duties. I am sure you will be fine.

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