I have terrible stage fright and general public speaking anxiety. Years spent painfully correcting speech impediments will do that to you. At one point, a speech therapist I worked with dumped out my piggy bank of carefully collected coins and began taking away coins one at a time when I got words wrong. Needless to say, I quickly got my hard earned money back after stumbling into the correct way to say the word she wanted and repeating it as many times as I could. I still have moments of great relief that I can speak up and have a better chance of being heard while remembering clearly the times when I couldn’t.
With this backdrop in mind, I have to admit that I love the online format of talks right now. I’m amazed thinking about how many more opportunities feel 10x more comfortable and accessible for my introverted, anxious soul now that I can record myself speaking in the comfort of my own home. How many hours of sleep have I gained back? How many hours of heart pounding anxiety have I gotten to skip? How many days usually spent recovering have I instead been able to spend out in nature? How have I been able to be present for loved ones thanks to not needing to spend hours rehearsing every detail? In many ways too, I think the talks I’ve given are more high impact as I can approach them not filled with adrenaline but instead filled with thoughtfulness.
I hope in some way even as things open up that we learn something from this and that we offer more pathways for participation as I know I’ve benefited from many that have opened up over this last year.