What I Learned From Public Speaking Recently

What I Learned From Public Speaking Recently

“Do one thing every day that scares you.” 

We’ve all heard this quote. Show of hands of people that actually practice this. Every day.  *waits*

That’s what I thought.

Hermione meme about public speaking
Hermione gets it
Do something every day that scares you, unless it's public speaking Click To Tweet

As you probably know, I had a speaking engagement several weeks ago at the Living Free Expo. The offer to give a talk came up both unexpectedly and last minute. I didn’t really think it through, I just said “yes”. I didn’t give myself time to say no. After agreeing, I had a quick call with Nikki Everett, founder of the event. She went over everything with me. Then, she dropped a nice little bombshell. Since there weren’t as many speakers scheduled, I would have forty minutes to talk. FORTY! What had I gotten myself into?!

I’m not new to public speaking. I was on the debate team for a semester in high school. I took public speaking when I was taking classes at a community college. I took a Voice & Diction class while attending Wingate University (I was a Communication Major). Even with all of this, I still don’t like public speaking. 

I do like talking to people, especially when it’s something I care about and am passionate about. That’s ultimately why I said yes. I wanted to tell others about my coaching program. It’s something I believe in and I want to help others. 

 

meme of a baby & public speaking
I don’t like public speaking, but I’ll do it.

I’ve been working with a business coach since November and she’s helped me develop my coaching problem and assisted me in launching it. We had briefly discussed the idea of having a talk that I could give in relation to Food Sensitivity Success Map. After bouncing around ideas, we settled on a name and three ideas related to it. Little did I know that just a few weeks later, I’d be rushing to flesh out my talk. I got the details about the expo on a Monday and would be giving the talk that Saturday. 

After work, I e-mailed Kristyn in a mini-freak out. I filled her in on the details and emphasized that the talk was scheduled for 40 (!!!!) minutes. She replied that it was very exciting and reminded me that I had a foundation in place. Unfortunately, Kristyn was at a conference until Friday, so we couldn’t move up our session. She gave me a template to implement. In the meantime, I sent a similar freak out text to a group chat. My very supportive friends (and sister) reminded me that I could do this & offered to help give feedback. Even in different states, I was glad to know they had my back.

I spent the next few days working on my talk and making a power point presentation, which I hadn’t done since college. I kept reminding myself that I could do it and everything would work out. 

On Friday, I emailed my Power Point to Kristyn. She gave me some suggestions to implement. 

Fun story on the way to the expo: I went to the wrong campus. This year, it was being held at CPCC’s Harris Campus. The community college has several campuses throughout out Charlotte and the surrounding areas. There is one campus about 15 minutes from me & for some reason, I was convinced that was the campus I was supposed to be at. As we got closer, I saw a sign for the Cato Campus. Crap. That’s not it. I tell Nikki to turn on the GPS & find out that we’re actually supposed to be all the way over by the airport. Awesome. 

We actually ended up arriving right as the event was starting. I definitely thought we’d be later, but traffic wasn’t too bad because of the time of morning. I spoke with the appropriate person & was directed to my table. After setting up, we ended up being able to move our table closer to the door of the lobby. For the little bit of extra pressure we started out with, everything worked out well.

After a few hours chatting with attendees, it was time for my talk. Since it was later in the afternoon, the expo attendance hit a lull. There were about 7 people to hear my talk. I knew previously that there was a chance that I wouldn’t have a lot of people in the room. The speaker before me was a doctor. His talk was packed and he actually went over his allotted time. 

I had notes on my phone, but decided to write some points out in case my phone locked while I was talking (it did). My talk lasted closer to twenty minutes. I forgot some of the things I wanted to say. I spoke too fast at times (I talk fast as it is & faster when I’m nervous, which I warned my audience of before I started). My audience was great. They listened and smiled. They spoke afterwards and shared their experiences. I was relieved. 

Meme of Evan from Bruce Almighty
This seems pretty accurate.

I know my talk needs work. There are things that need to be changed. I need to practice giving my speech. I need to get more comfortable with my talk so that I can speak more freely. 

I’m proud that I did something that makes me nervous. I’m glad that I was authentic with my talk. I told them my fears and did it anyway. Say yes to something that scares you and it becomes a little less scary. 

 

Meme of Leslie Chow
Almost.

9 thoughts on “What I Learned From Public Speaking Recently

  1. Public speaking is the number 1 fear for most people including me. I have never done so many public speaking in my life. Usually, I prefer to talk to a small group of people. Glad to learn that you have tried to challenge yourself and practice public speaking. Thanks for sharing your journey, I really enjoy reading it and it helps to inspire me in some way.

  2. I’ve done public speaking a few times throughout my career, I remember how frightened i was but and as you said, did i die! Nope! It’s actually been an amazing experience.

  3. Public speaking is always tough even if you enjoy it. I am so nervous before but the moment when you get get consumed by the crowd and enjoy it all totally is worthy all the ‘before’ moments.

  4. It was always lovely reading your public speaking experience. I have did it a few times and so can well understand your feelings but yes the end result always gave me satisfaction.

  5. I feel you, this also is my nightmare of speaking in public. However you’ve cited here some good point of what’s there to be scared of. It is just in our mind and thought, we can easily overcome this with the help of others and staying positive all the time.

  6. Honestly, I have fear of public speaking but when I started to help myself this makes me feel that I need it and glad I overcome it.

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