I don’t get nervous about public speaking. At least, I don’t think I do.
The intro for today’s Meditation talks about a specific day on which the creator was “stressed out and sleep deprived” and pondering the decisions they’ve made. So when the game loaded and I found myself in a first-person perspective at the back of a theatre, my view periodically briefly closed off as if by one big eye closing, I assumed I was part of the packed audience. And then I looked around, and noticed that the row of people I was beside, all identical silhouettes, all had their eyes turned to me. So I moved down the tiered rows, towards the stage with its rippling circles on the walls, floor, and ceiling. And as I moved, I seemed to sway, as if every time I took two steps forward I also took one back. It felt like it took an age to get to the stage, and then – when I was finally stood behind that lectern – the game ended.
It’s possible this isn’t about fear of public speaking per se. Maybe the creator was just having the kind of day on which it’s not ideal to have a public speaking engagement. Today I woke with a headache that got progressively worse. I spent the afternoon recording Chips With Everything, the podcast I present for the Guardian, and in the evening I headed to the BBC to appear on Radio 4’s Front Row.
I love talking on the radio. But I do not love feeling like invisible hands are squeezing my skull and making it difficult to think. That said, I don’t think I had a headache the last time I came out of a radio appearance feeling like it had gone terribly, so maybe I don’t feel as positively about public speaking as I think I do.
Or maybe everyone feels that way.