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.

32 thoughts on “What I Learned From Public Speaking Recently”

  1. OMG, public speaking is terrifying. You’d never know it to see me doing it, but I always feel like I’m going to have a panic attack and barf every time I do it.

  2. I have no fears of public speaking, but I tend to really stink and planning for speeches. I like to overwrite what I’m going to say and that just comes out rehearsed. But I don’t have any NEED To do that, I just do it! I have the confidence and the material, but I just always tend to write out whatever I’m going to say. Working on it!

    • That’s good that you know what you need to work on. I think once I become more comfortable and familiar with my talk, the less nervous I’ll be.

  3. Public speaking scares the hell out of me. I’ve done it a few time and it was terrifying but at the same time, it felt good to push my boundaries.

  4. I once had a mentor that told me this: public speaking makes us nervous because we’re thinking about us. Think about them and the information you need them to know. Much (but not all) of my speaking anxiety simmered after that 🙂

  5. Public speaking I think is always scary. Even the best would probably admit they get nervous when they do it. I congratulate you on stepping out of your comfort zone for 40 minutes (as I am sure you have some comfort in this area). I am proud of you for doing it and I am sure the next time will seem like it was a breeze, especially if it is only for 15 minutes. 🙂

  6. I have never been a huge fan of public speaking but I have done it in front of small groups dont know how I would feel in front of a large group. It’s pretty scary but it helps us. Great post.

  7. I have no problem with public speaking, BUT I need to be prepared! I like to be in control and know my subject in the tip of my fingers, to be comfortable and improvise. I hate speaking about stuff I know nothing about! that I simply can’t do. Timed up speaking also stresses me, because I fear not to transmit the most important ideas before the time runs up!

    • Those are all definitely big issues with public speaking. I think the next time, I’ll be better prepared & feel more comfortable with the content.

  8. I hate public speaking, or I just don’t have the confidence. You are so inspiring. I hope soon I’ll be able to do this and face my fear of public speaking.

  9. I love speaking. But 40 minutes is a lot of time. Im sure you did amazing. Yes to saying more yes to what we are afraid of.

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