Monday, June 13, 2011

One More Book

Books - too many in my house. As I constantly try to downsize and get rid of my stuff, I continue to buy books. Recently I picked up a copy of Speak Up: The Public Speaking Primer by Carol Roan. She spoke at the Bookfest in Hendersonville recently and I was impressed with her. This little book is on the subject of speaking before an audience.
Many years ago when I was preparing for a job as a salesperson I was advised to take a public speaking course. I still remember the people in that class and the skills I learned have been some of the most important in my life.
Shy, timid, self-conscious -- all are words that described the person I was when I was young. A professor at the University told me I would never be a teacher. "They won't be able to hear you beyond the first row."

I had stage fright, or a fear of public speaking. You might know that fear of having to stand before a group and speaking. Instead of saying what you mean to say, you babble and you feel sweat rolling down your sides. You sit down and don't remember what you said, but you know it must have been awful because you feel humiliated.
I remember my heart pounding, my mouth dry as a south Georgia creek in August. That was me most of my life.
But, today I have turned the anxiety of public speaking into energy and I have no fear of standing before a group and talking about any subject of interest to me. I have thought on this transformation in myself and I believe it came when I began to speak to promote others -- to tell the audience about my friend, or a guest , and it was not about me. It was all about someone else.
This little book by Carol Roan  interests me because she gives concrete tips and advice to overcome this most feared experience. Speak Up,the Public Speaking Primer was published by Press 53, Winston-Salem NC. http://www.press53.com/
If you have a fear of reading your work before an audience or speaking to any group, read Carol's book and take a public speaking course. It can change your life.

Carol Roan is also  co-editor of When Last on the Mountain: The View From Writers Over 50. (Holy Cow! Press)

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