Speaking is not a strength of mine. If I had the option not to speak, I’d always take that one. I am not comfortable in facing a crowd. I become tense and get nervous easily. Combine these two and you have one of my least preferred things to do – to raise a question in a gathering.

When I attend seminars, talks, among the like, I usually take down notes. I write questions but I never really get to ask them. In small groups, I’ve managed to. It took me three years of work, to become comfortable in airing my concerns. The small meetings and seminars, I can now manage. At last.

We were seated at the back of the hall during the talk of the university’s succeeding president. I had my usual notes and questions. I never can gather the nerve to ask question during the open forum. And then I found one of the student facilitator asking for the questions we may have written in the pieces of paper she distributed earlier. “I’ll ask later,” I answered. The student nodded and left.

And then it registered. “I will? Really? Since when?” And then I saw the facilitator informing the emcees that there was a question from the audience at the back.

I always tell my students to ask questions during the open forum. To not be afraid to raising questions. And then I thought, it’s time to take my own advice – in a bigger context (literally).

My voice wavered a bit. The question may not have been perfectly clear. For now, I’ll settle with that. I’m happy with the thought that I asked. It felt great!

I went back to the office thinking “I should be doing more of that”.  And I’ve got the remaining eleven months to practice asking 😀


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