Conquering public speaking

A microphone

"The top two things that scare people are death and public speaking, we're going to be tackling one of those today". These were the words of my instructor for a recent stand up comedy workshop event I participated in.

 It was leading up to semester break and I saw it advertised through the Adelaide University Comedy Club. At first I thought, hell no. Why would I want to stand up in front of a room full of people and hope I'm funny? However, it wasn't until I thought about a few things that I began to change my mind.

  • Firstly, I didn't have much on. I had the time so why not give it a go?
  • Secondly, surely it would be a great opportunity to push myself out of my comfort zone and meet some interesting people?
  • And finally, why miss a chance to build my confidence and try something new? 

Once I committed to signing up, I filled in the form and put it to the back of my mind hoping it would go away. The event outline was straight forward. Sign up for the three workshops over a two-week period and then have the chance to perform if you were feeling brave enough. Over the course of the workshops, I met lots of really funny and quirky people. One of the great things about the experience (and my biggest fear) was that we were all in the same boat. We were all trying something new and putting ourselves out there. Since we all had the same concerns, we were really supportive of one another which made the whole experience much more enjoyable and fun. 

After the weeks of practice and writing, we all had the chance to perform at an open mic event at the Laugh Lounge. To say I was terrified would be an understatement. With the support of my fellow (learning) comedians, we all encouraged each other to give it a go. Considering that we all brought a couple of friends along for the show, we had a really supportive crowd.

My mind went into a blank when my name was called out and from what I can remember, I recited my set without forgetting most of it which was a relief. Everyone told me that people laughed and it was a smooth run. As the night ticked along, the crowd got more vocal and supportive (courtesy of the cheap bar). 

Looking back on the experience, I went from absolutely dreading it and regretting that I signed up, to being really grateful that I did. It was a chance to develop myself and improve on my confidence. So, I might keep an eye out for any public speaking opportunities in the future and try my hand at it again. 

Tagged in Culture, community, comedy, What messes with your head