I don’t really think of stand-up as public speaking. It’s been a big part of my life for so long that I forget how big of a deal it is to be in front of a bunch of people. I’ve never been nervous on stage, not even the first time I did it, I’ve always been excited or looking forward to getting on stage. Although I suppose excited is just nervous energy in a positive direction? However it’s not a crippling force like actual nervousness.
Whatever confidence I have on stage doesn’t necessarily carry over into other aspects of my life. In my marketing class I still get nervous when I speak to the professor, I have a problem where I talk so low that nobody can hear me and I’m asked to speak up several times so I can be heard over the sound of people laughing at me. The advantage I have over other students though is that I think through what I have to say so whatever it is usually makes sense and is to the point. Most other students either end up saying say a bunch of words that don’t mean anything or just tell the same point in six different ways.
One time in class the professor decided to have the class split into two and have a debate over an issue. Each group picked a speaker both just said a bunch of nothing in their three minute speeches, but our speaker was the funniest because his nerves made his voice go from deep-baseball-jock-voice to eight-grade-voice-crack. I laughed during his speech, and so did most of the class.
Point is that nerves can get the better of anyone and make them do stupid things. The appropriate thing to do is just laugh at it because it happens to everyone so we might as well laugh. Of course once that person gets down from the stage or is done speaking be sure to encourage them or offer advice because this shit is hard. It’s a skill that’s difficult to work at and laughing is a force that puts everyone at ease, it instantly takes the pressure away. That’s why I don’t mind getting laughed at in class. Okay, maybe I mind a bit…