Public Speaking
Published in Mark and Liam on Apr 30, 2019 by WHYSUP 

Since being a young lad, I have always had a fear ofstanding up in front of a large audience and speaking. Get me with my mates andI won’t shut up at times but speaking on topic and to people I don’t know, mybrain seems to go foggy. 

I remember being asked at primary school to speak in frontof the school and being fine on the few days leading up to it and on themorning. Then the school hall filled up with teachers, students and parents andmy heart started to beat faster and faster. By the time I stood up I felt likeit was going to burst through my chest! From that moment I decided that publicspeaking wasn’t for me. 

On a football pitch I was completely fine. No nerves, I wasconfident (never cocky), vocal and the more people watching the better. Thecomplete opposite to how I felt public speaking!

I won several trophies playing football and some being theplayer of the year. My acceptance speech was never Oscar like. Just a simple“thank you”, then leg it off stage, happy I hadn’t fallen over. 

Then from the age of 15 came the gambling. The only publicspeaking for the next 13 years would be a rant in the bookies…a few of them tocome to think of it. 

So fast forward to October 2016 - Whysup had just been formed and 90% of our service centres around public speaking!

We sat in my flat in the midlands putting together what we thought was a service. It would centre around mine and Liam’s story and some education on addiction. “I’ll be fine” I thought…”if I can go through what I’ve been through, standing up on a stage will be a walk in the park”. Then I received an email…..

‘Mark would you be our guest speaker at The House of Commons to tell your story of gambling addiction’ 

My first public speaking event was just that. Talk about baptism of fire. Me stood up in front of a packed room, MP’s, bookmakers, staff from the rehab I went to and my mum all in the audience.

Was that my fear of public speaking cracked? Not at all.

2 years on I’ve spoken to thousands of people of all ages and all over the county.

It’s not easy but I know we are doing some good and making a huge impact. For that reason it’s worth it.

Liam gets nervous too, but I learn off him every day. I’m lucky to have my friend by my side to ease them nerves at times. We pick each other up at times.

If you’re someone who gets nervous then try not to worry. We all get nervous! It shows you care!

Mark

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