How to Become a Better Public Speaker (When You’ve Just Bombed on Stage)

(Pictured above: me during a far less neurotic presentation.)

I am standing in front of a crowd under blinding fluorescent lights. They appear to be listening to my every word.

And I am positively bombing.

The room is too bright, and I can see everyone’s faces, but I am absolutely unable to read their expressions. Are they bored? Disgusted? Concerned? Is it because the content I’m presenting is distressing, or because I’m just bad at this?

I am giving a presentation on online harassment. It’s one I have given before, but this time I am stumbling. I am jet-lagged and exhausted – the night before, I was so nervous that I’d somehow sleep through my start time, I kept waking up in a panic. It now feels like my brain can’t keep up with my slides.

It’s been a while since I’ve last given this talk, and I’ve changed a

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