Overcoming my fear of public speaking

Kristin Mariano speaking at Archipelago International Commercial Summit 2023

If there is one thing that I fear the most (aside from frogs), it is speaking in front of a big audience. I am not the type of kid who will run in the middle of family gatherings to perform. Yes, I was extremely shy when I was a kid.

While there was no escape from reporting in front of the whole class when I was younger, I always remember it to be nerve-wracking. That could be one of the reasons why I chose to be a writer. I feel like I can express my thoughts better using the written word. I begged off when my former company asked me to conduct video/podcast interviews.

However, just like many of us, the pandemic made me realize that I cannot let fear rob me of joy and hold me back from things. I utilized the lockdown to upskill myself in different areas. I found and enjoyed new hobbies. This was me saying “yes” to new experiences.

In September 2021, I was invited by Malaysia-based training provider Kiniacademy to be a keynote speaker for a masterclass about “Post Pandemic Travel and Tourism Recovery in South East Asia” under the Southeast Asia Forum For Reporting (SEAFORE) programme. SEAFORE is a fully-funded programme by the Institute of War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) and Kiniacademy is the organiser of the programme. Moreover, this is a forum joined by reporters in the region.

I said yes because the masterclass was done online as this was held during the pandemic and I have a month to prepare my presentation. As this was my first speaking engagement, I wrote a whole script of everything that I wanted to say down to the last preposition and punctuation. I read this script every day to the point that I memorized it.

To cut the story short, my presentation went well and I was able to handle the question and answer portion with grace. Here are the videos of the masterclass posted on YouTube below:


My second speaking engagement was in February 2023 at the Archipelago International Commercial Summit 2023. I was invited to speak about PR writing. The audience was the sales and marketing teams of the different hotels under Archipelago International.

I was more confident with the topic as I have been a writer for more than a decade. However, instead of giving a boring lecture about PR writing, I focused on the topic of how to get the media to publish their press releases. I gave out tips on crafting PRs that editors will most likely use.

These gave me the confidence to speak in front of an audience. Mind you, I am still far from doing a TED Talk anytime soon but I learned that utmost preparation can trump your fear of anything.

It is better to try and fail than regret it without trying at all.

Leave a Reply