job, thoughts

On Public Speaking

I am a lawyer. Inherent in what I do, is speak.

I speak to clients, opposing counsel, mentors, organizations, supervisors, squirrels [if there is a particularly compelling reason to do so]

I also speak publicly, complete with power point presentations, laser pointy things, and fancy schmancy suits [I’m a public interest attorney so a suit simply by being a suit is fancy schmancy]. I’ve spoken to crowds as small as 10 and larger than 100. Not once, not twice but numerous times.

Then why is it that each time I feel like a cat forced to take swimming lessons? I thought it would get easier once I’d done it a few times, and while I no longer fear that I will recite the alphabet and then flee off the stage in tears, the anxiety and nerves remain.

But even actors get stage fright when speaking in front of audiences. These are folks followed by paparazzi, who act for a living but put them in front of a live audience and they freak out. And considering that public speaking ranks as one of the most frightening prospects of all to most people, surpassing even death, I have company.

Tonight I am speaking to a large group of important people who I very much want to walk away from my speech thinking “wow she’s divine, just divine” and not “Stan- can we hand check her bar exam results? I’m doubtful”

I hope it goes well. I hope I do fine. But one thing I’ve learned is just because you’ve been there and done that, it doesnt make it much easier. *Gulp*

***Update: I went. I stood. I spoke. and it went REALLY well alhamdullilah. I shall now proceed to collapse at the nearest couch. Thank you.

10 thoughts on “On Public Speaking”

  1. I know what you mean by getting the jitters everytime you have a presentation. i am much the same way and now that i am starting law school this fall, i often worry if i’ll be able to improve my public speaking skills and retort to opposing arguments effectively, as a lawyer should. but don’t worry; Inshallah, you’ll blow them away. ๐Ÿ™‚


  2. Good luck !!Well said: ” But one thing I’ve learned is just because you’ve been there and done that, it doesnt make it much easier…”


  3. Salaam Aisha!I hear you and feel for you. But trust me, you will get better at it the more you do this. When we first learn to ride a bike, we try once, and fail, we try twice and fail and for many of us we keep on trying but can’t seem to part with those training wheels and then one day, it just comes to us naturally!My only advice is, start with Bismillah, have faith in yourself, tell yourself these people out there are not coming to see Aisha fail or to make fun of you. They’re coming for something YOU have, that is your knowledge. Knowledge that you will share with them tonight. Just believe in your abilities and you will be fine.I wish you all the very best. Insha’Allah you’ll do great!!! You know what I’m going to say next…’now go get ’em tiger!’ :o)p.s. I trust all is well with you.


  4. Zehra, Mystic, Enyur, Long time no seeeee!!!!!Zehra, law school? Did I forget you were beginning law school? CONGRATS!!! If you ever need ANY advice please contact me and I will be more than happy to share with you. YAY!Enyur, long time no see friend. How’ve you been? (haha I feel like pulling up a chair and handing you some chai and saying ‘koyee gup shup sone-ah-o’) lol…. thanks fory our advice, your right it gets easier over time. Email me sometime, I’d love t o know whats happening in your life these days ๐Ÿ™‚


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