My first encounter with public speaking, other than regular classroom experiences, was at the age of thirteen. My dad had decided to throw a big bar mitzvah party for me.
It was very important to him that I have a proper one. And by “proper,” I mean that I had to give a pre-written orthodox sermon about the Bible and the Jewish people and what not. A very natural thing for a thirteen year old, secular kid who also happened to have a severe stutter.
In the weeks prior to the event, I dealt with who to invite and what to wear. I tried no to think too much about the speech. Since I’d made a great effort to avoid speaking in class, I didn’t really know what was heading my way. And anyway, how bad could it be?