Those of you who follow the blog regularly will know how I feel about speaking in public, particularly when it is to a crowd of adults that I’ve never met before. So, when I was asked to speak about blogging to an audience of local businesswomen and entrepreneurs at an event with the Stilettos Network, I couldn’t shake the nauseated feeling that appeared at the pit of my stomach. It’s the usual insecurity that I’ve talked about on so many occasions, the tiny little voice that overpowers any rational thought in my mind. The one that, despite my inner confidence of all things blogging, will convince me in advance that my opinions are irrelevant and ultimately I will be laughed out of the room.
Still, it was an incredible opportunity and a rare chance to talk about blogging and how it has influenced and changed my life all evening with people who actually wanted to listen – I’m very lucky to have support from my family and friends, but there is only so much that can be said before that familiar glazed expression creeps across the eyes of those that I am jabbering at.
I was blessed to be talking alongside Justice Williams, MBE, and Jodie Cook – both highly successful women in their own right, and I was grateful that I would be speaking last as it gave me the opportunity to take some notes on how both of them presented themselves. I loved listening to their stories and how relaxed they were as they were speaking, and I was so inspired that, when it was my turn, I decided to go for it and see what would happen.
It was probably one of the best blogging experiences that I’ve ever had.
I must have been stood there for a while, but time seemed to fly. The nerves disappeared and I really enjoyed myself, and the response I got afterwards was far more than I could ever had expected. I got the chance to meet so many new people, and I could relate to so many of their stories – particularly one who is in the stressful job as a Head of Department in a secondary school.
As always, there is something to be learned from a new experience, and I learned a lot:
- Be confident in your knowledge and your abilities. You wouldn’t have received the invitation to speak in the first place if your opinion and experience wasn’t deemed to be valued. Be aware that the audience is there to learn from you, not to put you down.
- For goodness sake, smile! Having to listen to someone with a blank expression becomes boring after a while. A nice, natural smile will encourage others to smile back, and I was conscious of appearing warm and friendly as soon as I stood up.
- Add a bit of humour where possible! Serious can become intense and off-putting after a while!
- Try not to go off-track – stay focused around the question being asked and avoid going off on a tangent. This is something that I did on several occasions and had to consciously bring myself back to my original point. I found it confusing, so I must have confused my audience a little at times too.
- Be prepared to say ‘I don’t know,’ and make no apologies for it. In my Q & A I was asked about vlogging and a particular plug-in, both of which I know nothing about, and I was honest about this. I do, however, know people who have a good knowledge of both of these topics, so I offered to put members of the audience in contact with them if they wanted more information.
What a revelation! This looks to be the first of many that I will be doing in the next few months, along with the opportunity of further networking, and hopefully, making new friends… and I’m so excited!
What about you guys? How do you feel about speaking in public?
You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog, and don’t forget to check out my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks, my Pinterest page http://www.pinterest.com/suzie81speaks and my Instagram page http://www.instagram.com/suzie81speaks.