Public speaking isn’t for everyone. You either have it or you don’t

Or at least that’s what I thought. Standing in front of an entire crowd of people you’re trying to impress was never something I particularly excelled at, and being the weird gay kid in high school certainly didn’t help. Standing in front of people was usually a shaky disaster of “ers” and “erms”, and don’t even get me started on the trembling. At university, the stakes were even higher, which of course did not help my stagefright. Fortunately, one of my instructors noticed my shaking-like-a-leaf dance, and took me aside. “Look at these faces, Mike; we’re all clueless about your topic. We’re not out here to get you!” – which was easier said than done. But at least it was a start. However, things didn’t get any easier when I joined the Fachverein Anglisitk and wanted to motivate unmotivated students to come join our events. Encouraging stressed students to let off steam may not sound like much of a challenge, but when you see them literally looking down on in the lecture halls, you do feel tiny. Once again, a higher power came to my aid. An instructor took pity on me: “Like the average spider, they’re far more afraid of you than you are of them. Open with a joke, and you’ll be fine” That really got the ball rolling! Today, I actually enjoy holding presentations. I suppose it’s a true “fake it until you make it” kinda story. This might not seem helpful to some of the people who read this and are still trying to find their courage. But I’ll repeat a few words of wisdom I have come to learn: “When in doubt, go for the dick joke.”


- Mike, English UZH


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