When I was really little I didn't talk in school. At all. My report cards had notations on them stating "Your child is still mute".
I was shy.
I really struggled with public speaking...I mean, most people do. I felt like I did okay once I got going, but the build-up was horrendous.
As I've gotten older and into my career I tried doing things to improve and alleviate the stress around it. I joined Toastmasters, spoke at local design events and taught a few web design classes at a community college. All of those things helped.
Now, on my list of things to do, is to speak at a design conference. This is a long shot, but I believe doable. Several years back my boss was set to speak up in Kansas City at a very large design venue, and he was the keynote. At the last minute he was unable to attend, and he asked me to speak in in place of him. I was thrilled, excited, nervous, unsure...but accepted. Unfortunately, a few days before-hand I had a serious personal emergency and also couldn't attend, so 2 other co-workers took my place.
Ever since then I've really been set on attempting to speak at a conference again, and make a concerted effort in getting there. That includes submitting a white paper. Over the past several weeks I have been drawing up some session ideas, a personal bio and basic information they look for. This past week I submitted papers to WebVisions in Portland and the HOW Conference series. I have been to a lot of seminars and conferences and WebVisions would be ideal. Much smaller venue and topics are web-driven, which I am most comfortable with.
Who knows if I'll hear anything, it's certainly a long shot.
But I'm crossing my fingers!