HELLO, I'M ERIK!

// ABOUT

PROFESSIONAL CREDENTIALS

  • Bachelor of Arts in English Literature
  • Masters of Science in Curriculum Instruction and Assessment
  • Advanced Professional Speech Educator and Coach Accreditation
  • National Federation of High Schools Arizona Educator of the Year 2008
  • Adjunct Professor and Guest Lecturer in Speech Communications

First, a confession: I fear public speaking.

In any other context, that wouldn’t be a huge reveal. But, I think you see how it might be problematic to state that in this space.

Like many, I grew up with this crippling fear. Then, through a series of unexpected and fortunate events, I joined my high school’s speech and debate team and was hooked with stories and speaking. I knew right away I wanted to share this passion and train others to do the same. As a high school and collegiate educator, my mission was to equip students with the power to share their stories. In this role, I had a lot of conversations about public speaking and storytelling, and I noticed a few patterns.

Recurring conversation.

When I would introduce myself as a public speaking teacher and coach, many would confess their hidden speaking fear, yet scoff at me when I encouraged their presentational power. It was like the myth that you can only learn a second language before you reach a certain age. So many disbelieved they had a unique story and could learn how to powerfully share it.

Recurring misconception.

Public speaking and storytelling aren’t just podiums and power points. Public speaking is anytime you speak to inform, persuade, lead, inspire, or entertain. It looks very different for different people, but it is a required skill of all positions and professions.

A gap between the desire and how-to.

I couldn’t go a day without being bombarded by story buzzwords, and rightfully so. Stories matter. Sharing them matters. Whatever the story may be. Yet speaking and storytelling are skills that are rarely given time, space, or resources to cultivate. I saw so many pressured to share their stories, without the tools to do so, hiding the fact that they feared rejection and failure.

Thus, my mission: to eradicate ineffective speaking, empower people with words, and smash the stigma of public speaking fear.

I still fear public speaking and the rejection and failure that can come from it. But I embrace the risk and joy that come from that fear and believe that even if you are afraid, it does not mean you don’t have something to say, the power to say it, and the obligation to speak up and share yourself with the world.

ERIK J. DOMINGUEZ