• J.R. Reed

Public Speaking and Fear


To people on the spectrum public speaking can be overwhelming!

Being on the spectrum I don't always enjoy getting up in front of people and talking.  As an autism advocate, blogger and podcaster, I often have to get in front of a crowd of people and talk, as was the case just a couple of hours ago.


I was scared to death as I entered the building to talk to the nearly thirty people who were there to listen to me speak on the History of Disabilities in the United States.


I continued to freak out a bit as the time drew nearer for me to grab the microphone and begin my talk, complete with a Powerpoint presentation.


But when it was time and I was introduced, I somehow was able to get my stuff together and didn't need the extra anxiety pills I had been wishing I had with me beforehand.

Apparently I was somehow able to overcome my fear and apparently did a good job, though for the life of me I have no clue how i managed to pull it off.


The crowd was engaged and one lady asked the facility director if I could come back next year and speak again and she said yes.  Maybe the director was being nice, but I got the sense that she was sincere.


I have another presentation in a couple of weeks, this time to a group of a hundred people and on a different topic.  I'm not sure how I feel about that one as I'm the only one of three presenters without a Dr. in their title.


For me, it comes down to self-esteem and an occasional lack of it.  The feelings of fear and being intimidated by the crowd will hopefully go away as I do more of these speaking engagements but for now, I'm willing to suck it up and try to swallow my fear like a candy that Willy Wonka would make.


Now that today is over I get to start working on the next Powerpoint and figuring out how to connect with my audience about the advantages of Supported Decision Making vs Guardianship.


Wish me luck!

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