On Public Speaking…


When I was seven years old, I had some thoughts of becoming a pastor.  My Sunday school teacher used to refer to me as the little evangelist.  My Dad is a pastor.  I like to help people.  I like to encourage people.  And there is part of me that may have thought preaching was pretty cool.

When I was nine or ten years old, I was convinced I would be an actor when I grew up.  After all, I played a lead role in a church musical when I was in third grade.  Then I directed and acted in a play in the fourth grade.

In junior high and high school, I excelled at the saxophone.  My freshmen year, I earned first chair honors beating out upperclassmen who expected to have top honors.  I enjoyed being in the spotlight when I had the opportunity for solos.

My interests turned to engineering, and I put my ambitions for being in the spotlight aside.  In fact, I did my best to stay out of the “public eye” as much as possible.  Part of it was an attempt at humility, and part of it was a growing discomfort for speaking in public.

Despite this, I had different opportunities to speak in front of an audience – at church, at work, at graduate school.  My speaking opportunities weren’t flawless, but I received many compliments and words of encouragement to keep going.

My writing over the past few years has caused me to rethink the whole public speaking thing.  This is part of the reason I joined Toastmasters earlier this year.  Since joining Toastmasters, I’ve had the opportunity to speak at my job, and I’ve been asked to speak at my college in February.

I believe I have something to say – something worth sharing.  And speaking in public may be one way to share.

What if speaking was a direction I should pursue?

This is a question I have started wrestling with more recently.  I think it would be an opportunity to stretch myself.  I think it would also provide an opportunity to encourage others to stretch.

What do you think?  Would you be interested in hearing me speak?

When was the last time you spoke in public?  Tell me about it in the comments.