July is Freedom from Fear of Speaking Month and to celebrate, I’ve invited a team of speaking experts to share their best tips and tricks for improving your speaking skills and overcoming speaking anxiety.
Learning to Speak Up: An Interview with Sabrina Schottenhamel
By Carma Spence
Sabrina Schottenhamel (Shot – en – hamel) is a licensed Massage Therapist and Professional Speaker. But it wasn’t always that way. She took some time out of her busy schedule to share her journey to public speaking success with me for Speaker Palooza 2019. Perhaps you’ll see yourself in her story and be inspired to improve your speaking skills, as well.
Carma Spence: How would you rate your confidence as a child?
Sabrina Schottenhamel: I was extremely shy when it came to speaking or participating in school. But when it came to dancing, I had lots of confidence!
CS: How was school for you?
SS: Terrible! I struggled most of my life to keep up. I was held back in the 1st grade which hurt my confidence level and also made me feel dumb.
CS: What were your strengths?
SS: Dance, Art class
CS: Where did you feel you had a weakness?
SS: School especially, math and history. Test-taking, memorizing and studying.
CS: What was holding you back? Fear? Judgments?
SS: Both. I was afraid to be heard and say the wrong answer for fear of being judged as slow or stupid.
CS: When did you decide to speak up?
SS: After I graduated high school. But even then I still held back for fear of being judged, speaking up or out in fear of losing friends. (I didn’t have that many friends then.) Once I graduated from massage school and started working in a spa, I felt more comfortable with myself. I started gaining confidence because I was getting great feedback from the work I was doing.
CS: What made you take that next step?
SS: I started speaking up when I quit the spa job and started my own business, then I HAD to network in order to grow my business… talking to people was a challenge but I managed!
CS: Where did you go to learn new skills?
SS: I joined a networking group, continuing education training, and eventually joined Toastmasters (in 2013) to get over my fears of public speaking and improve my communication skills.
CS: How do you feel about speaking now?
SS: I Love it!!! It’s so much fun now that I can use what I’ve learned. This year I have invested a lot into my speaking business. It’s not easy but I just keep talking to keep improving and getting my message out to as many people as I can.
CS: Look back at yourself as a child. What knowledge would you give your younger self?
SS: I’d tell myself I will be okay. I used to have anxiety and worry about so many things that didn’t matter. I wish I could have had the support I needed to enjoy school more. But I have no regrets. I am glad I am where I am today, always working hard to grow and become better! If I hadn’t had all those struggles I wouldn’t be the person I am today, nor would I have the stories and experiences that help me in my life now.
CS: How would you rate your confidence level today?
SS: 8-9. In all aspects of life, I feel confident and proud of how far I have come.
CS: Where do you see yourself in five years?
SS: I see myself continuing to work as a Massage Therapist but cut my availability down to 3-4 days a week. Also, I am getting paid to speak 1-3 times per month as a keynoter and by holding workshops/breakout sessions. I will also have an online support community subscription with constant updates and information to help improve peoples lives.
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About Sabrina Schottenhamel
Sabrina Schottenhamel is a Licensed Massage Therapist and Speaker. She is passionate about the work she does to help the audience thrive in their lives; by speaking and educating, but also providing traveling massage for her clients’ convenience.
With her passion for self-care and massage, Sabrina shares her message through presentations and workshops. Her speaking topics include; Self Care for Health Care and Effective Stretches for the Office Worker. These presentations focus on stress management, self-care, increasing daily productivity, and overall happiness!
In April of 2013, Sabrina joined the Woodridge Toastmasters club to conquer her fears of public speaking and communication skills! In 2016 she won the “Best Speaker” award in her club. Then this past April, Sabrina was awarded the Col. Jill Morgenthaler “Rising Speaker Star” award from the National Speakers Association.
Her goal when she speaks is to share her joy and passion and help improve the quality of life of her audience. Sabrina makes self-care fun and empowering with her unique skills and techniques. To learn more, visit her website.