Employee Life

Embracing the Opportunity to Face Your Audience

Staff Reports

About the author: My name is Mimi and I am a senior studying Mechanical Engineering at Penn State University. This summer, I am an engineering intern in the Technical Services group in Williams’ Pittsburgh office. At Penn State, I am involved in THON, the world’s largest student run philanthropy, as well as the Women in Engineering Program Orientation (WEPO), and Undergraduate Teaching and Research Experiences in Engineering (UTree). I am excited to blog throughout my summer internship so you can learn how “Williams Got Talent!”

Embracing the Opportunity to Face Your Fears Audience

You stand up and suddenly your legs are Jell-O, palms are sweaty, and mouth is dry as the desert. Who knew giving a presentation could paralyze your entire being?

According to the Book of Lists, people fear public speaking more than death. Comedian Jerry Seinfeld said, “If you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”

However, people like Paul M., who works as a Leadership, Learning, and Performance Managing Consultant in Williams’ Tulsa office, are breaking the status quo.

Growing up, Paul was an introvert and stepped outside of his comfort zone by taking speech and drama classes in high school. As an undergraduate student at the University of North Texas, Paul took an acting course, which led to a scholarship. After finishing his undergraduate program, Paul earned an impressive three degrees in Education, Drama and Speech, and continued on to graduate school to earn a degree in Interpersonal/Organizational Communication.

Since junior high, Paul has embraced public speaking opportunities as both a presenter and a teacher. For instance, he gave presentations at conferences, conventions, and companies. He also teaches college courses that require students to give formal presentations. One of Paul’s favorite memories was presenting at an ASTD international conference in San Francisco and being invited to present a one-day seminar in Belgium.

As a passionate public speaker, Paul offered the advice to take every available opportunity to practice your public speaking skills while soliciting honest and sometimes critical feedback. Additionally, never underestimate the importance of good communication skills at any level, even during a one-on-one situation.

Paul reflected, “You may have the best message in the world, but if you aren’t an effective communicator, your message won’t be heard.” Now is our chance to practice our communication skills so our messages can be heard. Paul is proof that public speaking should not be a fear! Next time you stand up to give a presentation, graciously accept the challenge and do it with a smile on your face.