Confessions of a beta male XVI: public speaking

Public speaking has long been ranked number one among the common fears. But it tends to bedevil betas more. There's just something about the sound of one's own voice being only noise in room, and having all those eyes focused on you, that's nerve-wracking.

An alpha's biggest fear is that he will sound unprepared. (Of course, if he doesn't, it won't bother him all that much.) My biggest fear is that my voice will crack, which of course makes that outcome more likely. Unfortunately, fear does feed upon itself.

An alpha just gets up and speaks as if chatting with his grandmother. I always feel as if I'm facing a parole board.

An alpha can get up in front of an audience and actually smile. I can feel my face start to tighten up; any attempted smile would come out as a frozen grimace.

An alpha's voice as relaxed and expressive as he wants it to be. I feel this weird need to keep my voice strong and deep. Which in turn makes me sound too breathy, which makes me sound as if I'm about to cry -- always a high point for a would be tough guy like me.

I have to make a concerted effort to take a deep breath and speak from my stomach, but keep my voice casual. This would never occur to an alpha.

An alpha can be extemporaneous. I have to be completely prepared beforehand, because thinking on my feet while on stage is out of the question.

An alpha's secret to public speaking is just to be himself. My secret is two of those little mini bar-sized bottles of vodka beforehand.

It would never even occur to an alpha to have a drink beforehand to calm his nerves. It would never occur to me not to.

I tried a stand up routine about eight years ago at an open mike night at a comedy club. The only drink available was this rotgut wine which would have made rubbing alcohol mixed with cat urine taste good by comparison. I still forced three glasses down before getting up on stage. (I also had to walk outside for forty-five minutes to sober up enough to drive home.)

I will admit, with some drink inside me, after the first five minutes I actually enjoy being up on stage. I'm like a kid again -- I actually enjoy being the center of attention.

Alphas, of course, are that way even without the alcohol.