Sarah Krisher: From Stage Fright to Public Speaker by Grace Olson
Sarah Krisher used to be terrified of speaking. One wouldn’t think that by looking at her book, The Confidence to Speak: Master the Many Fears of Speaking, but because she grew up in a household where children were meant to be seen and not heard, Ms. Krisher was a quiet child. Ms. Krisher and her younger sister were punished for being too loud, being too boisterous, or speaking out of turn. This influenced Ms. Krisher greatly and contributed to her fear of speaking, especially in public.
Being quiet served her well until she got into the adult world, where she started working in interior design. At her first meeting with a client, she had to present her design ideas informally to her client, and she felt such horrible fear of speaking, almost like stage fright. She had a hard time even saying her name! “My brain just wasn’t there!” Ms. Krisher explained. “I couldn’t even get myself together. I was sweaty and shaking. It was then that I realized that I need to get this figured out.” This realization led her to take classes in public speaking to refine and grow her skills in speaking. The courses helped, especially once she began a career in sales, but she was still fearful. “This was something I needed to conquer,” Ms. Krisher said. “I wanted to become a speaker.” She didn’t know what she wanted to speak about, but she knew she wanted to do it. So she investigated what it took to become a speaker, and she discovered that she could do it! All she needed to do was become a better speaker.
Which lead her to land a job at a public speaking training center. She worked there for a year and a half, and she got comfortable with presenting. “I wouldn’t say I got to the point where I enjoyed it yet,” Ms. Krisher said. “I was getting comfortable with it. It wasn’t until I started my own business that I started to enjoy it.” Thus, Stand Tall LLC was born. Stand Tall teaches people how to be confident speaking in front of people and prepare for public speaking.
Her experience with a fear of speaking inspired her to write The Confidence to Speak: Master the Many Fears of Speaking. She got into writing through a creative writing course that she took. Specifically, the instructor for the course had an impact on Ms. Krisher. “Her main focus of the class was to have fun,” Ms. Krisher explained. “She didn’t have a huge interest in doing it right. Rather, she wanted to see how creative we could be and how we could stretch ourselves.” She started to read stories and write her own stories, then she thought to herself, “I could write a book.” She then decided to fill her how-to book with stories from herself and stories from others. Thus, The Confidence to Speak: Master the Many Fears of Speaking was born. Ms. Krisher hopes that, after finishing the book, readers will walk away with the confidence to speak, just like she found the confidence to speak.
I asked her about her favorite moment in the writing process, from idea conception to holding the first copy in her hands. She answered with “When I emailed the manuscript to Ann and said ‘Here it is. It’s done.’” To see it as a completed work must’ve been a fantastic experience that I cannot wait to experience for myself!
As a child, Ms. Krisher didn’t read a lot. “I would say I read the average amount,” she said. She didn’t have a favorite book as a kid. “I wish I did, though,” she said. “I don’t have favorite movies or songs. Whenever someone says ‘favorite,’ I’m always like ‘how could I possibly choose?’” Now, she’s into self-help books, but she wanted to get into fiction. We had a long conversation about fiction books, and she walked away with a few recommendations that I gave her.
And here comes my favorite question to ask all writers: what advice would you give young writers? I love this question because I learn the most from their answers. They are all such different answers, as well. For example, Ms. Krisher answered with, “Don’t write the book you think the world needs. Instead, write the book that you’re most excited about.” I love this because it’s so personal for her. It fits with Ms. Krisher’s story. She started as someone who feared public speaking, and she went on to improve herself to the point where she now loves public speaking. She ultimately wrote a book about what she was passionate about public speaking.
I learned a lot from interviewing Ms. Krisher. She’s the perfect example of self-improvement: a journey to be shared with others. I loved talking to her about her life and her work. I hope you enjoyed reading about her.