For years I was too afraid to speak in public because I felt sure everyone would notice my shaking knees and my neck gradually turning red. But now I can get up to speak in front of other people without shaking, and believe it or not, I actually enjoy it! Thank you Forum!
After receiving feedback from a job interview I decided to improve my communication skills by joining a public speaking group. I chose Forum because they were extremely prompt in answering my enquiry and seemed genuinely excited at the prospect of a new member. My gut feeling was right and on my first meeting I was warmly welcomed and greeted by many friendly faces. That first night I was exposed to words I’d never heard of and I heard such a variety of speeches. I came close to speaking that night but held off to the next meeting. I decided to take every opportunity to speak, thus learning to conquer my fears. I’ve always been someone who has a strong opinion and enjoy voicing it; however I found I would get nervous if ever I spoke to more than a couple of people in a group. Three years have now passed and I’ve DELIVERED a number of speeches – some better than others. I’ve taken myself out of what is now a comfortable environment and spoken in the open in public, at my church in front of a large audience and also at my work place to a sea of teenagers! The nervousness in my voice has disappeared and the racing heart beat has slowed. At a more recent interview I found myself much calmer and unflustered. I still have a lot of words to learn and a long way to go before I can put them into my everyday conversation but I know that never a meeting will go by where I don’t learn something, catch up with my new friends or be inspired by something I’ve heard. Exercise for the mind and calming for the heart – I love Forum.
Forum has been the best investment I’ve ever made for my personal and professional development.
As a Lay Preacher, being asked to take services occasionally, I thought that practicing researching a subject and speaking to engage my listeners – really engage them, not have them nod off during a sermon – would be helpful to retain those skills and receive some constructive criticism as well. I remember the old adage “use it or lose it”.
So that’s what led me to join Forum. Yes, it’s certainly helped that, and given me more! Friends and fun times. It taught me things and took me places I didn’t ever know of.
In the near future, even at a senior age, I;m going to be working full time in a parish for 2 months in 2024! And I’ll be thanking Forum all the time!