I Fear(ed) Public Speaking

A personal post…

Being a first-generation American whose parents immigrated to America from the Philippines; English wasn’t always spoken in my household.  I was taught Tagalog (also called Filipino, the national language of the Philippines) along with English.  Growing up, my parents, who are both college graduates, wanted my sister and I to succeed in American schools, so my parents ensured we were fluent in English first and was taught Tagalog second. 

Although being raised the “American way”, there were still some terminologies and phrases that separated me from my friends.  “Turn on the light” was “open the light”, flip flops are slippers, and the pronunciation of some words provided great material for my friends to tease me at a young age.  In school, I developed a fear of saying the wrong words aloud, so I chose to not ask questions and refrained from participation.  When I was forced to participate, I would get nauseous, dry heave before I spoke and when I did speak, I sometimes stumbled over my words.  I did well in school, despite this closet fear. 

It wasn’t until college, where I was truly put to the test.  My first year at the College of Engineering at the University of Nevada, Reno, we were forced to work on a team project.  The project was to develop a letter scale from scratch, write professional papers AND present our product to the class of 200+.  The two ladies of a team of six were voluntold to conduct the presentation.  Linda and I both come from immigrant families and were terrified.  Being a female in Engineering school was tough enough, but the presentation was a large percentage of our grade and thus carried extra weight for us.

When presentation day came, Linda seemed to be handling it well, but I was in the corner nauseated and trying not to dry heave.  Before I knew it, the presentation was over and Linda and I nailed it!  When all presentations were over, to our surprise, Linda and I received the “Presenter of the Year Award”!  We were in shock!  From this day forward I thought my fears were behind me…

They were not! When I give presentations for my career, I still feel nauseated and try to prevent myself from dry heaving.  But there is one form of public speaking where I don’t get nervous… at all! It’s when I conduct marriage ceremonies.  After several ceremonies and no nauseated feeling when I’m standing in front of the couple, even with several people in the audience, I’m not nervous.  I don’t fear it.  I absolutely LOVE it!  This is why I know being an Officiant is meant to be…

Published by Mindy Haffke

Marriage Officiant located in Reno, NV helping couples through the post process of engagement!

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