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Speaking to huge audiences on the radio was an important step to overcoming my fear of public speaking.

It is one thing to speak to a microphone and one or two others in a studio. Standing in front of a crowd or on a stage is something else.

I cracked it by starting small with:

  • a small crowd,
  • a short talk
  • and an easy topic.

My first official public speaking engagement was for a local computer company in Wellington, New Zealand. The company held regular evening events with food and drink for its customers. It would invite speakers.

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The company’s managing director asked me to talk for about 20 minutes on my work as a technology journalist. I can talk on this subject about for hours.

Thankfully, the audience was unintimidating, maybe 25 or so people and the mood was friendly.

When I finished a discussion started which went on for almost another hour. I didn’t realise until afterwards that I chaired the discussion keeping things moving along when it flagged. I just did what came naturally.

Over the next few months I had a few similar speaking engagements, the audiences remained small, but the session length and topics would be different. After around five or six events I was comfortable enough to tackle a larger crowd.

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