My name is Jennifer, I am a French interpreter and I have a fear of speaking in public. Houston, we clearly have a problem…
Yesterday, I got a call from a local interpreter to fill in for him for an hour or so during the Black Mayor Annual Conference. Mayors from around the world are meeting in Atlanta to discuss global and local issues. I was very honored that he called me and extremely excited about this opportunity, but there were unfortunately moments when my nerves got the best of me.
I think it was a combination of their high status’s mixed in with the fact that this was only my second conference doing simultaneous interpreting since I started out in my new career. You would think that being in a booth would erase the fears, after all, I’m not the one on stage. But it doesn’t. There is still a sense of being judged, a sense of wanting to deliver a perfectly accurate interpretation and a huge fear of missing out on words.
So tonight, to take matters into my own hands, I decided to start attending Toastmasters. Marcela Jenney-Reyes told me about this organization that helps people become better speakers and overcome their fear of public speaking. A part of me is dreading this, and a part of me is excited. But either way, in order to become a more confident speaker and less anxious overall I must face my fears head-on…right?
So, here’s the lemonade, I made of the lemons.
Live- go for it, accept the opportunities presented to you, but,
Learn- and be aware of weaknesses so you can,
Grow- and do something to improve.