What I wished I learn in School pt 1: public speaking

The Kontent - Scott Nguyen
3 min readJul 2, 2021


We’ve heard many times from people that they would rather to “blank” than give a public talk to an audience. Now that’s ridiculous.. You couldn’t pay me enough to work at a call center for an hour. If you work in a call center, I’m empathetic but I’m not sorry. The process of calling a stranger after a long day of work to ask them tedious questions is a venture I wouldn’t wish upon my enemies. Much respect to those that do it day after day, it just couldn’t be me. I tried it for 5 minutes, saw another person leave and got inspired to do the same. (This is a story for another time).

Now, what makes public speaking so fearful? Difficult, I would agree, but so scared that you’d take an terrible alternative is intriguing. Is it the anxiety of failing and stuttering in front of people? Or is it the projection of imagined thoughts of others onto us? Maybe even as simple as not wanting to look stupid. Whatever it is, I wish to have gone through all of the phases earlier in my life instead of figuring it out as an adult.

A talk with some of my friends that attended private school revealed to me that they go through public speaking classes during middle school or high school. Now that doesn’t that gave them exceptional speaking abilities, but that does give them valuable exposure to a vital skill. The ability to speak well leads to better relationships, jobs, promotions, well-being, etc. I didn’t realize how important it was to be speak well until late into my 20s. Yes I know, not that late, but I could’ve been even better if I started sooner.

This isn’t a “feel-sorry-for-me” article, but rather a reflection on what other skills are important. The older I get, the more I see how the verbal skills matter so much. The more I’m able to eloquently portray an idea or even having the ability to simplify a subject gives me a better chance of making a connection and building a relationship with someone. Other things include reading body language or having the situational awareness of using tone, pace and proper diction.

I’m sure there are other skills I wish I could’ve learned in school and the significance of them. Public speaking just hits hard to the heart since it was something I heavily struggled with growing up. I grew up envious of others because they had confidence I didn’t. Their pronunciation and fluidity sparked jealousy and it made me avoid giving speeches to avoid the comparison. Ironically, doing that didn’t make me better. Another lesson: If you suck at something, keep going until you don’t suck.

In this day of age, there isn’t any reason to make excuses. Those with less do more. These days, I actively look for ways to practice via Staying Konnected Podcast or look for videos to improve my technique. I’ve come to terms that failing and looking “dumb” is just part of the process. The trick is to get that phase over quickly and then the fun begins.

I’ll end with a quote about speaking from the great Ralph Waldo Emerson:

“All the great speakers were bad speakers at first.”

Start soon and start now.

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Originally published at https://scottnguyen.substack.com.



The Kontent - Scott Nguyen

I write to get better at writing and to learn. IG: stayingkonnected Podcast: Staying Konnected