The only place I have been able to successfully speak in public (without looking like I’m getting a hot flash or sounding like I’m going to cry) is in front of Disney Guests.
In high school I took Public Speaking to overcome some shyness…it didn’t work. In college I took Theater annnnnd Public Speaking…it didn’t work. I can talk in front of a group of friends hanging out, I can tell stories Papa Dillo style and run around during an event to make sure everything is running smoothly while everyone is watching. BUT what I cannot do is speak during a presentation or if I am put on the spot on a specific topic. I have a weekly team meeting at work where each of us have to discuss what we’re working on. Although I’m able to do this, the nervousness exists. Since I don’t have to stand up and be on display, it doesn’t show as much.
When I worked in Epcot, I had to do live demonstrations on a mic and spiel different information at different times. Going into this I was definitely nervous. It took a little while to get used to, especially when the people I worked with loved to hear my NY accent on the mic (this is the same mic where I would lose the accent and have mostly maintained that to date). Somewhere in the back of my mind I knew I would probably never see the people I was talking to ever again and therefore it made it easier to get up there and talk to them. I didn’t have to worry about what they might say about me or what they thought about me – mostly because I’d never know! Over two years, the spiels, the answering questions and the scripted demonstrations became second nature to me. The thing that would stop me in my tracks is if I saw someone I knew in that crowd, I immediately tensed up.
I haven’t worked in Disney in almost 7 years. I have been with my current company for over 5. If I was asked to do a presentation on what I am working on today, I’d freak out. I guess there’s just something about a Disney Guest audience….