How To's

The Public Speaking Blues

The Public Speaking Blues

After the initial euphoria of your brilliant public speaking wears off, does your mood sink lower than a snake’s belly? Do you shrink from stride to slink?

Now it’s finally all over, the glorious feelings of relief simply, evaporate. And, so does the surprising insight that you almost enjoyed yourself up there, up there in front of everybody. You did what you said you couldn’t do or at least, couldn’t do well enough for your high standards. Yet you did. And your imperfection, was actually, quite perfect in that moment.

Why, oh why, do you now feel so flat? Like someone has popped your balloon? It’s not fair.

After all the lead up, the avoidance, the rewriting, the google research and let’s not forget, sleepless nights, surely you are entitled to bask, a little in the sunlight of your own public speaking glory?

But no, because of gravity, what goes up, must come down.

I call it, The Public Speaking Blues.

Unfortunately, it’s not very musical, but if it was, the soundtrack would likely feature agonised oboes, hysterical violins and sad, lonesomely plucked cellos.

So… What To Do?

Well I reckon, wallowing, is a good start. Immerse yourself in a bath, of water, sand or mud. Whatever you have to hand. Sink in slowly, your misery deserves respect and time to, unravel.

Keep away from positive, well-meaning do-gooders, eager to offer, “feedback”.

You know how that ends.

“What do you mean, Friend, “It was a good speech… one of the best I’ve ever given? Are you saying, I don’t usually give good speeches? Do you imply the previous were, what, terrible?”

And so on. You may keep a smile plastered on your face, but your brain is exploding. No, imploding. It’s worse. Numbly, you review past public speaking attempts and what went wrong. Actually, add a few more life failures to that list. Let’s make it a nice, long, list.

So… What To Do, Next?

Obviously, isolate. Avoid everyone.

Eat lots of chocolate. You do not, heaven forbid, make small talk, be polite or share.

Just stuff yourself lovees and wear tracksuit pants with expandable waists. This is probably what public speaking gurus mean when they say in honeyed tones, “be comfortable in your own skin.”

Stuff that patronising sweetness from someone who’s obviously never suffered like you. Go on, let rip with every swear word you know. Yeah. Full permission. Go for it.

So… What To Do, Now?

Go for a walk. Keep those trakky dakkies on. Yes, stuff some extra chocolate in your pocket. And just take off. Walk and walk until your mind stops the talk.

Wander around and then around some more. Notice the leaves. How did they get so green? What, has there been a season change? And there’s a new park bench over there, just begging to be sat on. Under the dappled light of a ginormously elegant tree. Such pretty shadows. Such gorgeous flowers.

Ahh that’s right. Throw yourself down and take a good deep breath in. Oh! My goodness. You are already taking good deep breaths in and didn’t even notice. My my, your heart is pounding. In a good way.

Walking past, I think it was, Oblivion Street wasn’t it – the weight of the world, your world, dropped from your shoulders like the excess baggage it was. You just don’t need it anymore.

Let’s Recap Our Public Speaking Blues Strategy

First, we must wallow, then we avoid annoyingly positive people. Next, we eat lots of chocolate and wear super comfy, shapeless clothes. And swear, to let it all out. Lastly, we go for a walk until our minds switch off. We merge with the landscape and get lost looking up into the leaves that big old tree. Then we remember the euphoria of taking a risk to speak in public and the self-critical, shitty feelings that sometimes follow, are but a teeny, tiny moment in the vastness of the universe.

Or something like that. You could of course, just tell yourself, what goes up, must come down.

And occasionally, that’s you and me, after a big speech.

Life. Sometimes it sucks. And sometimes, it tastes like chocolate.

© 2022, Geraldine Barkworth. You may reproduce this satirical article if kept in its entirety. If any persistent issues arise for you after reading this article, please seek professional help.