On Friday, I gave my speech with a new found resolve. I felt confident, brave, ready, everything.
Usually when I speak in front of any number of people, I feel like I’m speaking to an entire stadium full of people.
I tried something new before this presentation. I read an article earlier this week about 4 habits of confident women. The first habit is that they do not keep calm and carry on. The article suggests that it’s easier to get excited about engaging in “anxiety-provoking activity,” public speaking in my case. It goes on to say that those women who told themselves that they were excited about their activity felt more positive about their performances and did better than the women who told themselves that they were calm.
So I decided to embrace my nervousness and get excited about the presentation. I told myself that I’d be fine, that I was going to do a great job. I didn’t try to keep calm and maintain control. I enjoyed the busy-ness of my work week, remained present in each of the meetings I had to attend, and couldn’t wait until Friday at 2:45, the time of my talk.
I stayed at a hotel in Annapolis. I practiced my speech in the mirror Friday morning. I walked to the conference room, where I saw a room full of men and women that I didn’t know. And immediately felt overwhelmed. I never spoke in front of this many people before. It was later confirmed by the group’s president that there were 112 people in attendance. OMG! What in the world was I thinking to accept this speaking engagement!
I regained my composure and remembered that I was excited to be giving this talk. I enjoyed the presentations by the other speakers. I had a delicious lunch, met some new people, and had a great conversation with fellow librarians. Before I knew it, it was my turn. I felt my heart pumping in my chest. And I spoke like I had been doing it forever. I knew what I needed to say. I did fumble over a few words, but I even felt okay about that. Then it was over. Yay! I even won a potted plant at the end of the conference.
I believe that the universe moves to help us if we are open to receiving the messages. I’m glad that I read the article and I’m glad that I embraced the excitement of the moment. It really helped me be a better speaker. I was open to the message that I needed to receive. I will take this advice with me to my next speaking engagement, next month, and continue to hone my public speaking skills.