I was six years old when I started school. Rural Oklahoma in 1960 didn't have preschool or kindergarten. And though I ached to go to school on the day I turned six, it was not to be. When I finally got to go, I was thrilled. I quickly learned to read, even with the proper inflections. My first grade teacher, Mrs. Berry, was so impressed, she volunteered me to read before the entire fifth grade class.
I wasn't afraid, standing there in front of the classroom with an open book in my hand. I don't remember what it was that I was reading, but I do remember breezing through the story. I read better than most of the kids in the room, and I knew it.
Giving speeches when I grew older proved to be no problem either. I suppose it was because I was used to an audience. After all, I started singing solo in church when I was five. I continued singing, joined a group, and sang for many services around the country.
Public speaking requires preparedness, a thorough knowledge of the subject matter, and a steady heartbeat. The later being the most difficult to attain.