My, there are a lot of people in here.


A few weeks ago, a coworker and I were invited to present our program at a volunteer recruitment event.


Present your program.

Recruit volunteers.

Meet new people.

Good. Great.

Present… to people… 100 people.

Then it set in. My fear of public speaking.

Now, I am a pretty social person. I love being with friends and family, and I have a (“naturally”) loud voice. But, and I don’t know why, I have a fear of speaking in front of a large crowd.

Even giving my speech at my wedding, where everyone in attendance was someone I love and wanted to see there, I was STILL nervous!

Many people have this fear. In some, it is quite debilitating where just the thought of presenting sends them into a panic.

It is very common, yet quite annoying.

What helped me in the past and on this day, was thinking about the situation and asking myself a few key questions:

  1. Why am I doing this?
  2. Who am I talking to?
  3. Why are they here?

So here I am, standing on a stage in front of a large group of people about to speak.

Why am I here? I was invited to present the Community Connections Program, in hopes of recruiting new volunteers.

Who am I talking to? I’m talking to a group of wonderful people looking to volunteer.

Why are they here? They’re not forced to attend this event. They WANT to be here. They came to meet me (and other wonderful presenters) and talk about volunteer opportunities.

This isn’t a high school presentation. My audience is sincerely interested in what I have to say. They’re not going to judge me. They’re not going to hold a slip up against me.

Much like a presentation you have to do for work, or a presentation for a job interview (been there… that was a challenge), your audience wants to hear what you have to say. They invited you to present because they know you are experienced and knowledgeable about said topic. Provided you know your content (practice in front of your spouse, sibling, your dog), your audience won’t care if you trip going up the stairs, or introduce yourself as “Smalerie Vith”.

Thanks for reading!

Valerie Smith

Program Supervisor, Community Connections Program

WoodGreen Community Services

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