“No man can learn the art of public speaking by reading a book. To learn to swim a man must plunge into water; to learn to speak in public a man must speak to an audience.” - Sidney Wicks
Before finding Rostrum I spent a lot of money on self-help books and hypnosis sessions - trying to solve my public speaking problem the easy way. Finally though I accepted that if I wanted to conquer those fears, I’d have to speak, in public!
My name’s Sean, a proud member of Club 48 in Preston. I’m also a former Irish backpacker who's been living in Melbourne since 2009 – I’ve still got my campervan, but now I run a small design studio (you can see some of my work on recent Rostrum posts)....
As a graphic designer it’s very important to effectively communicate your ideas, but presenting my work to a group was the one part of my job that kept me awake at night. Those anxious thoughts started when I was a teenager -– I remember having a bit of a panic attack when I was about to be called up to speak in front of our school assembly. My heart started racing, I felt butterflies in my stomach, my face went red and I quickly escaped out the exit door!
Thankfully I don’t have an embarrassing story to share about public speaking, but that’s mainly because of avoidance. When escape wasn’t an option I’d often have a little bit of alcohol, just to ‘calm my nerves.’ It was a strategy that served me well throughout University, but it only made the problem worse really, because now I couldn’t do public speaking unless I was ‘prepared’ for it. I also wasn’t able to celebrate any successful speech or presentation, because my inner critical voice reminded me that I’d cheated to get that extra confidence.
I knew I needed to change things, and after reading about Rostrum online, I challenged myself to attend a meeting. It’s hard to remember just how stressed I was about taking that first simple step! But I’m very glad I did, because it gave me a safe-space to practice public speaking, and the opportunity to feel butterflies without the pressure of it being a client presentation. Taking action to improve my public speaking skills has helped my career, my confidence, and it’s also silenced my inner voice a bit!
If you can relate to anything you’ve read in my story, I recommend reaching out to your local Rostrum club. The coaches are committed to helping people achieve their goals, and it’s a non-profit organisation, so they aren’t looking profit from anyone’s public speaking fears (like some other ‘experts’ you’ll find online).
Rostrum is really affordable actually, with one year's membership being about the same price you’d pay for one hours hypnosis!
Proud Member Rostrum Club 48 Preston Melbourne