Friday, August 30, 2013

Speaking In Public: CHECK!

Glossophobia is the fear of public speaking.

An estimated 75% of all people have some type of anxiety or fear of public speaking.

In high school or even college, I thought I had glossophobia! Speaking in front of my own class was a nerve-wracking experience. Once, I had entertained the idea of competing in a speech contest. I wrote, I planned, and in the end I pulled out because of the idea of speaking in front of other people. My high school English teacher and Home Economics teacher both were very angry with me.  Probably more disappointed. But either way, I knew they were not happy with my decision.

Then I grew up. Once I was asked a public question in a wedding. I had to give the preacher good reason the bride and groom should be married. I have no idea what I said, but I do know that what I said was barely coherent because I was so nervous!

Then I became a trainer. As a trainer it became my job to address people. Mostly small groups but I have done the occasional introduction for a large group. I found those to be a little stressful. My comfort level is differently in the smaller group. My comfort level grew. My confidence soared. Until...

Back in November a work friend of mine called me. She asked me for a favor. I said yes before she even asked me {that is how I was raised} to be involved in a statewide alternative care {foster care} conference. She then asked me to do a break-out session and part of the keynote. The break-out session I was not worried about at all. But a keynote! WOW! And as if the anxiety of that was not big enough, she then explained she and the planning committee wanted me to follow a well known young man from our area who has decided to publicly share his story.

So, yes, I had committed myself to doing a large {300+} keynote address following a speaker whose message is powerful and overwhelmingly sad.

The conference was this past Monday. As I did my last minute preparations the weekend before, a sort of calm came over me. I realized despite the attendance numbers {nearly 350 people} it was just a training and I have done several hundred training's.  I even decided to put my waterproof mascara on and experience Nathan Ross' story firsthand. I am so glad that I did! This young man has seen a world of hurt and then went into a complicated system afterwards. Thankfully he was adopted by a loving, "never-give-up" family. If you have the opportunity to hear him speak or later read his book, I encourage you to do so!

 I wore a microphone. I controlled my speed. I made a few jokes. I made a few good points. Hopefully I taught some new things. In the end, I did it!  And I did it as well as I knew how. I have yet to see the training evaluations, but I know that I did well. I know that I could not have done anything differently. Afterwards, I had no idea the amount of people that would congratulate me. It was so nice to hear from people after the presentation. So many approached and offered praises. It was a complete shot of self esteem!

I do have some thank you's. First I need to thank my friend Jeanne and Kay. They both were part of the planning committee and saw something in me that knew I would be able to do this.  Second, to my staff at work. They listened to me fret. They addressed my fears. They even read almost every single version of the presentation that I made. To my husband and my friend Angie: they also listened to me a lot! To my Momma Liz, she is so supportive of me and provides me with critical feedback that I do not always want to hear but that I always need to hear.

Thanks to my family. They hate it when I am away but they allow me to be away. When I said yes to this project, it never occurred to me that it was happening on my husband's birthday. Worse yet, his birthday was on the second day of presenting and I spoke to him three times before I wished him a happy birthday. Sorry honey, I owe you big time!

And lastly to my two best friends. Meeghan came through for me with a text book when mine got accidentally sent to the good will store. She listened to me whine about my insecurities for months!  Oh then Tracy!

Tracy remembers things from the moment I told her about it, she remembered. She immediately put it on a calendar or recorded it in her photosensitive memory. Either way, she was there. She arranged her day and met me at the conference. She kept me sane. She kept providing me with pep talks. And she even brought me protein bars because she knew I would be too nervous to eat lunch. She also was the first person to I presented my presentation to and with her super "wired-so-differently-than-me" brain she offered the first bits of real constructive feedback that forced me to think outside my box and make a better presentation.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the thanks.....I'm said I wasn't there to hear the entire thing! I bet you did amazing!!