If You’re Nervous to Speak Publicly, Do It Anyway

Mark Palfreeman
3 min readJun 19, 2019


I’ve had some variation of “speak at a local meetup” on my goals list for a couple years now, but every time I get near the subject I avoid it—so much so, I didn’t even write it down this year.

I gave into my fear for a long time, but a few weeks ago, the right combination of circumstances came together and I gave my first talk at a local JavaScript meetup. (🎥 Video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HHiO4AQc94).

I have a few thoughts about the hesitation, fear, prep, experience, and effects.

I’ll Always Convince Myself Not To

Every time I remotely considered giving a talk, I quickly convinced myself one of a few things:

  • I don’t have anything to say that the community hasn’t heard already
  • Something I say will be “wrong”
  • I’m not really qualified to be doing this

I Am Afraid of People

It’s no secret: I have a people-pleasing problem. I care way too much what everyone thinks of me and whether I appear adequate at <insert-activity-here>. I fear the scrutiny of others in plenty of my life’s endeavors, and it is absolutely stifling. It’s funny, too, because I wrote myself a blog post to combat this exact thinking…