Me and public speaking have a dysfunctional relationship. Sort of like Carrie and Mr. Big only more… abstract.
For a long time I’ve known about public speaking, a lot of my friends told me he was a really nice guy. Someone you could really get into the flow with. Some people have even been on dates with him, using him as a platform to get their ideas and abilities across to great success.
In my head, I imagined myself and public speaking would get on like a house on fire. So I set up a date for the two of us. I decided to run for a committee position for the student radio. That’s four candidates, two positions, and a two and a half minute speech.
What could be easier?
Walking home from university, I fantasised about how great my time with public speaking would be. Maybe I would open up with a joke (in my head people would laugh), maybe I would walk around on stage a bit (really own that shit, you know?), or maybe I would make a really in-group remark and make people believe I’m part of the ‘gang’. But more importantly than all that I would be concise, clear, calm, and convincing.
I’d literally scream: I’M THE WOMAN FOR THE JOB!
Only not actually scream it because that’s socially awkward, and not at all what people with great public speaking abilities do. No, I would scream it subtly. With my face and words, or some shit like that.
|With a face like this, how could anyone resist? #sexy|
Of course, those of you who may know me, might have guessed that this fantasy was indeed just that – a fantasy. Because like all great dates, that in your head work like a dream and end up with you curled up in bed the next morning with a Chris Hemsworth look-alike, and then in reality have you sneaking out the window in the ladies toilet because he looks more like Chris Moyles – my date with public speaking crashed and burned. Except with thirty odd people all staring at you, it’s a lot harder to make a cheeky window escape.
It’s hard to pinpoint where my date with Public Speaking went wrong. If public speaking was a person, or more specifically a man, he would be one of the buffest most charismatic men – ever. And I imagine he would also be a bit of a dick head. One of those people who would pretend to compliment you, but would in fact be calling you a twat.
Or maybe I’m just taking my own metaphor too seriously.
|Look at this guy, he’s obviously great at public speaking and obviously a twat. The woman in the front row well wants to bang him. Image stolen from here.|
Maybe I should start again, and give you all a play by play of what actually happened when I tried my hand at public speaking. For a start, I truly believed I would be good at it. When it comes to interviews, I rock those bitches. I somehow managed to convince the store I work in now that I was an outdoorsy person, when really I’m more likely to surf the web as a form of exercise instead of actually surfing. But hey, a students got to do, what a students got to do, to pay those bills.
However, my TERRIFIC ability to bullshit was sort of made void when I realised that EVERYONE had an amazing ability to bullshit. Not only that, they could do it to thirty people at once, as opposed to me who had only done it to two people at a time (I like the ability to stare people down, kinda like the snake in Jungle Book). And on top of all of this, most of the people there were friends with most of the people there. As opposed to me who had a pseudo lesbian relationship with my friend Izy and a semi friendship with someone off the committee that was based off him MAKING ME LOOK GOOD.
Now to his credit, he did his best. He tried to sell me to the masses, but it was kind of like trying to flog a three legged cow at the rodeo. Or maybe a shaky dog would be a more fitting description. Of course, when dogs get nervous and start shaking, it’s deemed as cute, even when they piss on the carpet. When a grown woman starts to shake, it’s somewhat less cute, and people aren’t quite as forgiving about the mess on the carpet.
Now people who are bad at public speaking, and I’m guessing there’s a lot of us out there, will understand what I mean when I say it felt like my body was REJECTING the act. My body was so horrified that I was putting myself through the act of speaking in public, that it had what can only be deemed, as in involuntary exorcism.
The online dictionary defines an exorcism as ‘the ceremony that seeks to expel an evil spirit from a person or place.’ In this case, the evil spirit was the situation of me trying to convince thirty plus people to like me. And even though I haven’t watched The Exorcist, I have watched enough rock videos to know that I ticked a lot of the boxes.
Let’s start with vomiting – check, or close to checking (I swallowed it).
Babbling profanities and general shit talking – CHECK!
Body contorting in odd positions – Check, and don’t ask.
I’m sure there are others, but I’m trying not to relive the moment as much as possible. So what did I learn from this experience?
I suppose I could say that by merely experiencing the horrors of public speaking, I have become a better person. One of those, what doesn’t kill you can only make you stronger, kind of things. But really, the only lesson I really took away from this was:
Next time I’m just going to sleep with the guy counting the votes.
 As opposed to those voluntary exorcisms, that everyone’s queuing up for #chattingshit
For those of you who have made it through this massive rant, please reward yourself by going back, rereading this crap and having a shot of booze for every time I use the words ‘public speaking’. That way we can be hammered together – won’t that be beautiful?