Continuing from last week’s post on how to overcome fear of Public speaking?
The simple answer is, unless I work with you. I can not tell you how you can overcome it. I can however in this article tell you how I over came it!
Remember that young Lebanese migrant (I prefer the term import) kid I mentioned in my previous article? You know the one who English was his 3rd language? Didn’t understand Australian culture, was only meant to be here for a few years?
Well I want you to imagine it is 1992; St Johns Park High School (one of the 3 high schools I went to). The school hall was packed, all of the junior high school was there. We had an incursion; a musician was coming to the school to teach us how to make music with different instruments…
As he started on the electrical keyboard he asked for a volunteer. Unknowingly, and excitedly, I volunteer to record something that he was going to have electronically altered! Hey this will be fun my brain said, put your hand up!
And he looked me and said come, up! He handed me a microphone and told me to speak into it! WHAT THE ACTUAL F**K! I look across the hall and all my beady eyed peers looking at me with a smirk… waiting to see what is to come out of my mouth! What will be the next “hook” to tease Wassim about! My heart sinks… my blood pressure drops! I am sure I turned into a Chameleon changing colours, red yellow purple orange! God knows what else… the musician turns to me and says ‘say something’… What do I say? Think Wassim, think! You F**K why did you volunteer for this as the cold sweat rolls down my face… ‘I don’t know what to say’, I said as I turned to him. Innocently he looks at me with a warm smile and says what is your name? I said, “my name is Wassim” and guess what?? HE RECORDED IT!
Now hold up before you say, so what is the big deal… remember the lisp I spoke about? PLUS, the 4 S’s in my name? well guess what “my name is Wassim” is now my name is Wathim, my name is Washeem, Washing machine…” think of Daffy Duck!
BUT wait, he goes on to “mix” the recording and turns it into a “Song” … faster, slower, scratches… What the HELL is he doing! He is KILLING me… Run, hide, crawl under a rock and die Wassim! An hour so later go past, and I am on the brink of break down! How will I go into recess? How will I face my peers? What will happen? Needless to say… the “my name is Wassim” become the school anthem for the next few weeks… and there were a number of fights after that event… fast forward to 1996 and the same Import has put his head down and studying hard to finish his HSC… Yes, I am much better at English by then. Still not my favourite nor a subject I excelled at…
As part of my HSC English Assessment it was a requirement to do a “speech” in front of all the year 12 students… It a was no longer St Johns Park High it was a much rougher Boys only Liverpool Boys High!
The status quo was the same… Wassim is the go-to “joke” of the year. With his “hard” walk, loud voice and ever-present lisp that is the 1st thing people hear when I introduce my self.
As my year 12 English teacher gave out the assessment task… I read it with horror! I still see the word in front of me today, “No Visual Aids” WTF no visual aids? How am I supposed to learn everything and speak in front of all the “boys” in the school auditorium?
The mind focuses on those words! They become the biggest issue… how do I over come this? The logical mind would say to simply ask what that means… RIGHT?
Now for those who know me, know I am a very logical person when it comes to problem solving. BUT This was not a LOGICAL problem… the flashes of the “My Name Is Watheem” St Johns Park Anthem from 1992 is all flashing in front of my eyes… the fears, the heart palpitations… and so forth all so real … so present so NOW!!!!
Stay tuned for more next week….