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The Boston Globe

Magazine

First Person

Getting over the fear of public speaking

Curry College professor Katherine Morrison talks about her role in Speak, a new documentary on the search for the world’s best public speaker.

Some people come out of the womb fantastic speakers; the rest of us need a little help. I WAS ACTUALLY A VERY SHY CHILD. The first time I got up to teach a class, I was 22. I thought I was going to vomit. When I was living in Atlanta, I gave a presentation. I was horrible. A woman walked up to me and said, “You have potential — but you need a lot of help.” She introduced me to Toastmasters.

I rejoined when I moved to Boston. People told me, “YOU HAVE A CHANCE AT THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP.” It took me four tries. Speak is a documentary that follows competitors to the 2008 World Championship of Public Speaking. My speech, “Baby, Don’t Believe Them,” was about my journey from low self-esteem to the college professor you see now.

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