Is my fear of public speaking the reason I couldn't hack big law?

Is it going to haunt me in every career? Starting to think it’s something you have to be good at to have any job… 

I'm not used to public squeaking, I pisspronunciate alot of my worms


That's the 2 Ronnies, that is classic stuff, do you not...

Turn your phone off that's part of it

You're not listening you're not gonna enjoy it as much... Focus


I hate public speaking but plenty of jobs where you can get by doing very little of it.  Think I've done one presentation in the last year and that was internal so easy as I was talking about what I do to a bunch of colleagues.

I had this (eg shaking I could not stop) early in my career but overcame it completely to the extent that I have to wind myself up a bit to make sure I prepare properly.     Just keep practicing, starting off in internal environments, until it becomes "normal".

In order of preference:

  1. Public speaking
  2. Small talk with people at drinks--you can always just talk about Taylor Swift, whether ironically or not.
  3. Client-specific social event (lunch, boating trip, etc.)--where you have to pretend that you enjoy hanging out with them, need to start with social chit chat but expected to somehow artfully steer the conversation to "tell us what other ways we can provide support to you" and engage on issues specific to them. Fvck this to the nth degree.

Is it going to haunt me in every career? Starting to think it’s something you have to be good at to have any job

Well obviously it depends on the career, and no, you don't have to be good at public speaking in every job.  Most people don't like public speaking and/or have little experience of it and are nervous and scrape by on the rare occasions it is required.  Practice helps massively.  

Perhaps you need to confront your fear and then it won't be as bad as you think. Can you prepare a short talk about anything that interests you, eg 5 minutes length, and then give it to your partner or a friend?   

Ah come on


You try summat and that's...


"Thank you lordgaga"




Oddly I love public speaking. Precisely because it's false and unnatural. Being natural and myself? There's nothing in this world I hate more than that

Years of reading bedtime stories every night (doing all the voices, cold reading text out loud at conversational pace) has done wonders for my public speaking.

It's helpful to be a confident communicator in almost any industry. However very few are good at it by accident, they're more likely experienced and have practiced until they became good. Anyone can learn to do it, and if you think it's holding you back then perhaps spend time on it.

I am awful at it too but love socialising normally. 

If really ruining your career go to docs and get a small amount of diazepam - it takes away the edge if you have to speak and the anxiety disappears. Obv not a good idea if it’s talking all the time but once in a blue moon it’s good. I def see it as the thing that’s stalled my career. 

Find an amateur drama / beginner acting course. Get used to being in the spotlight and having to project your voice. Start to see public speaking as playing a character 

This is exactly me - I love socialising normally and am also good in small, intimate client situations. The public speaking thing gives me the absolute fear. I’d rather pull a sicky than do it it’s that bad…

Yes that’s like me. I really wanted to do a public speaking course but even that made me feel sick. Last year I had to do some advocacy in court and the lead up was horrendous. I had to speak to a coach who helped me see the bigger picture and I somehow got through it with a bit of diazepam and a talking to myself with tips from the coach. 

As a general human outside of public speaking I’m happy to chat in meetings and am actually an extrovert in character. I just like talking on my own terms and not when everyone is staring at me. 

What he was saying about me being top of the pile of men – saying I’m gay. I’m not gay. In fact, I can honestly say I’ve never come over a little queer!

Get to the real stuff.. that's just to what he... he's putting me off...

Probably not. It’s probably because big law is a soul eroding load of drivel. It’s pretty much the most unpleasant work imaginable that does involve raw sewage.

My top tip is put your paper on something live a lectern as then people can't see your hands shaking.

I'd far rather talk to a group of strangers about a technical subject I know than talk to a group of people I know reasonably well about my personal feelings.

At my old firm, the well known chairman of the firm used to come and speak at all the office events - he was a genuinely abysmal public speaker. Same thing with the firm managing partner. Both embarrassingly bad. Didn't do them any harm at all.