Why I Shouldn’t Be Allowed to Speak in Public

imageAs a teacher I can quite happily talk in front of large groups of children without feeling fazed at all, but the mere thought of having to speak in front of adults makes me shudder. Quite simply, I genuinely don’t care what the kids think of me, but I’m very intimidated by the judgements of people of my own age.

As a result, my experiences of public presentations are littered with embarrassments. There was the time when I asked a group of parents to ‘feel free to take a sh*t’ instead of ‘seat,’ the time I forgot where the fire escapes were at the beginning of a concert and effectively pointed to a large window during my audience welcome, and let’s not forget the time I was asked to give some flowers to a prominent conductor on behalf of the orchestra I was playing in, only to drop them off the side of the stage on my way up to hand them to him. This meant I had to walk all the way round to the bottom in front of the audience and give them to him from the floor.

So, when Steve from Talk About Pop Music asked me to do a quick interview on his popular blog radio show, I was apprehensive. However, I love the show and I’ve known Steve for several years, and I soon found myself staring at my Facebook messenger app with butterflies in my stomach, waiting for him to call me live during his Saturday night show.

It rang, and I answered with “Hello!” expecting to hear his Scottish accent on the other end of the line.

Nothing. Sh*t.

I tried again.

“Hello? Hello??? Hellooooo?”

Nope. Nothing. I hung up.

He rang me back again.

“Hellooo? Hello? Hello?”

Still nothing.

I turned the radio back on to find Steve playing Adele’s Hello, and it was obvious from the hilarious tweets I received that everyone could hear me, I just couldn’t hear them.

We decided to try again, but this time I was just going to talk about next Sunday’s mahoosive Valentine’s Day Blog Party and then say bye. The phone rang again, so I did just that. I started rambling, and then half way through I finally got a connection! It was Steve – yay! We had a chat for about thirty seconds and then he told me he’d just found out that the audience could hear me, but not him, so it sounded like I was having a conversation with myself.

Great. The audience must have thought I was insane.

To top it all off, Steve asked me to tell a joke. I’m not good at this – I know plenty of jokes but my delivery of them makes even the funniest of them sound like a eulogy at a funeral. This was the one I came up with – the joke that made me laugh so hard that it got me thrown out of a Year 9 science lesson when I was 14.

What’s blue and stands in a field?
A cow in a shell suit.

Hilarious! However, judging from Steve’s reaction he wasn’t impressed.

And that was that. I hung up and went for a cigarette.

And this, my friends, is why I shouldn’t be allowed to speak in public.

However, one thing I can do I host a blog party – and me and Steve have got an enormous celebration planned for Valentine’s Day. Want to find out the details? Just follow the link here.

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog and don’t forget to like check out my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks, my Pinterest page http://www.pinterest.com/suzie81speaks and my Instagram page http://www.instagram.com/suzie81speaks

75 thoughts on “Why I Shouldn’t Be Allowed to Speak in Public

  1. 😀 Too funny! I know just how you feel, I hate public speaking too. I remember a large work meeting with a managers etc where I was supposed to explain a new system I’d set up to file transparencies (trannys, for short). Except somehow ‘filing the trannys’ became just ‘fannys’ and so the meeting was pretty much over LOL. I still cringe when I think of it…

  2. Well funny > Asking people to please take a shit immediately made me start to laugh > nice one on that. I just wish I’d been there to see it. What was there reaction? I’m also a teacher and know exactly what you mean about speaking in public > oh the anxiety of it all. I did supply teaching once and got lumped with doing Year 10 girls badminton (as you do). To break the ice I asked them if they knew when their next period was. Oh the embarrassment of it all. Thanks for brightening up my day

    • Haha! Love it – being a music teacher there’s a whole plethora of words I have to avoid: fingering, tongueing, climax, G string…

      The parents were pretty amused. One of the dad’s responded with “I don’t think the cleaners would like that…”

      • LOLOLOLOL >> Phew. I never realised what a minefield music teachers exist. I guess you need extra training for that or counselling after parents evening. Do you suffer from physical embarrassment as well as with speaking? > I mean knocking things over, walking into walls or falling down steps (my curse)

  3. Hello…..Hello….next time you have to do public speaking, imagine each one of those “adults” as the child they would have been in your class…..maybe that might help, as long as you don’t tell cow jokes.

  4. This made me laugh! I’ll have to concentrate now so I don’t say “feel free to take a sh*t” next time I offer someone a seat… once that seed is planted, you never know when it will pop out!

  5. Interesting. I have this phobia but only with certain crowds. Like you, I taught without a problem and I’ve held workshops for different age groups but have a hell of a time with ‘public speaking’. It’s bad. I haven’t told anyone to take a shit but, still, it’s bad. 😜

  6. It was quite delightful, listening to you, then Steve, then you… and totally understanding the frustration each of you was feeling. Considering that LIVE radio it as unpredictable as can be… You two will do swell, rocking the special VD program. And I look forward to cow jokes…

  7. So funny! I’d be appalling, I’m quite sure. Last week I recorded my 1st ever audio memo on my phone and got so stagestruck I forgot what word came after ‘cotton’ in the phrase ‘cotton wool’. If you listen back I say ‘cotton’ there’s a long pause …… then like some bizarre James Bond intro … I just say ‘Wool. Cotton wool’.

  8. If it’s of any cancelation I’m laughing my arse of this! Ok, I’ll leave that mistake in to make you feel better. To be fair a window isn’t a bad fire escape from the ground floor and it’s best your audience don’t have any toiletry needs before you start lol My soul dies for you a little about the flowers though. I love that Steve was quick enough to play ‘Hello’ – brilliant. I’m sure everyone realised something bobbins was going on – honestly.

  9. Love it! I cannot wait for your next public appearance. I support anyone who can tell large groups of people to take a shit. At least you’re a good sport about it, and are willing to laugh aloud at your own antics. Thanks for the entertainment!

  10. Oh, I can so relate…I get so self-conscious when I have to speak in front of an audience that my mind just goes blank…I wouldn’t be able to remember ANY joke, cow-related or otherwise! So I’d say you did pretty darn well (slips of the tongue notwithstanding)!

  11. I’m only laughing with you because I’ve been in your shoes, six inches deep in the “seat” hole. As for your joke, maybe it’s Brit humor or the fact that I never get a joke and always have to have them explained. Or else I get the joke five minutes later when the speaker is relaying the most poignant moment of her life and the entire audience is sobbing – the entire audience sans moi, because moi is falling off her seat while laughing hysterically and then getting the stink eye from everyone else who thinks I really do deserve to fall down into that “seat” hole and stay there forever.
    Good post, Suzie, really good post.

  12. Of course, when all is going to hell in a handcart, you have to remember that it will make a great story one day. Which it did.
    Oh, yes, and you also have to remember that you don’t really sound like Peter Kay…

    On a serious note, if you do want to feel more relaxed about public speaking, I can strongly recommend joining a Speakers Club. That sounds scary in itself, but they’re designed to help people practice speaking in a supportive environment. I’ve left a link below if you’re interested in finding one near to you.


  13. Hi Suzie, Just wondering if you are getting my replies to your blogs. I noticed that you didn’t acknowledge the above message from me and you’re usually really good about doing that. I’m not getting new blog posts from you and am not sure what’s going on. You’re not the only blogger whose posts I seem to be missing so I may have to contact WordPress.
    I so enjoy your posts and don’t want to miss any of them.
    Be well,

  14. Eek how awful! I totally sympathize.

    I’m the one who’ll end up wearing her meal when I go out for a business lunch, or colliding into walls when perfectly sober as I suddenly become uncharacteristically clumsy.

    I’m guest blogging over on women writing magazine Mslexia at the moment about my fear of public speaking at the moment if you fancy a laugh. The only thing worse than public speaking is standing on stage singing… Oh the embarrassment. https://mslexia.co.uk/chasing-dreams-part-1-grand-debut/

  15. That joke is worse than the two I know that had me in stitches, and, then everyone else because they found it funny I was laughing at a joke that really wasn’t a joke. These two came from a 7year old too.
    What’s white and can’t climb trees? – A fridge!!
    What’s red and can’t fit down Rabbit holes? – A fire engine!! stupid I know but I giggle inside when I think of these jokes.

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