If you know me in real life or have ever had the (dis)pleasure of hearing me speak, you know that I do NOT like public speaking…and that’s putting it mildly. And not only do I not like it; I suck at it. But in my quest to get over my phobia and hopefully improve over time, I challenged myself to say yes to every public speaking invite I get, which, if you’re a person who works on staff in the association world where vendors rule but must usually speak with an association staffer, is a fairly regular occurrence. I have been trying this strategy for about, oh, seven years now, and, while I am marginally more comfortable doing it, I am by no means great or even good at it. Which is unfortunate because there are plenty of people out there who are regarded with much authority–and even highly compensated–to speak who. let’s be honest, are way better at public speaking than they are at actually doing stuff or being smart IRL. Suffice it to say, I try to stick to writing if I’m trying to impart wisdom or communicate semi-effectively.
Which is why I’ve decided enough is enough and I’m going to ratchet up (no pun intended) my attempts to become more comfortable speaking on camera/in public and just generally while communicating verbally. Because let’s face it–while being able to write is a nifty skill to have in life, being able to speak eloquently–or even halfway intelligently without having to say “like” or “um” every other word–is probably more important in daily life.
So since the past seven years of semi-regular public speaking engagements haven’t helped my verbal awkwardness any, I’m trying something new: video. If I hate public speaking, I hate video even more. It’s bad enough to just feel like you’re really flubbing something or maybe even thinking you sound halfway decent only to be met with reviews like “monotone” and/or “uses hands too much” (actual comments…thanks for the candor, world); it’s another to have to stare into a camera and watch the tragedy unfold right in front of your own eyes. Or, worse yet, not be able to see it while it’s being filmed but have the pleasure of watching it later. Let’s just say that if I hate the camera for still photos (which I do), video is ten times worse.
Which is why I’m now doing YouTube videos. Ok, YouTube video, singular, unless you count the makeup tutorial that I had no intention of actually posting but then thought what the hell and posted anyway. And I have to say–it’s way more fun/less cringy (for me; can’t speak for anyone else) than public speaking. Don’t get me wrong; I’m no Mimi Leifer and if I’m going to spend any amount of time trying to do something professionally, it’s going to be writing and not video production, but if I can get over even a little bit of my video/public speaking phobia while sitting in my living room talking to myself, why not? Worst case scenario: nobody watches it, which is kind of best case scenario too–how many things in life have that low of a barrier to entry?