Seriously. Writers are supposed to write, right? Yet more and more often, I find myself in the position of needing to write a speech – and then give it.
Anyone who knows me, knows I have a tendency to talk. Sometimes, a lot. (They don’t call me Windy Cindy for no reason) But when it comes to public speaking, well, let’s just say, it rattles me. PUBLIC speaking, as opposed to social speaking, comes with expectations. You are expected to be intelligent, clever, funny, poignant, informed and poised. You are expected to stand in front of a group of expectant (there’s that word again) people, who are expecting (redundant!!!) to be entertained, enlightened, and oh, so glad they came to hear you. There are probably a whole lot of other things that I should know about public speaking and don’t and obviously haven’t mastered. Perhaps that’s why I’m rattled. What kind of glaring errors might I make when I address a crowd of (fill in the blank, you know the word) people?
So, why am I telling you this? Because I have a big speech coming up on Thursday. Every year for close to 30 years now a local college holds a two day conference called Beyond Rubies. Beyond Rubies is for women, about women and dedicated to women. It’s a very prestigious event. It’s known for wonderful workshops and dynamic speakers. I feel very honored to have been invited to be a keynote speaker – and very scared.
That’s right. I’ve reached the point where I’m trying to remember exactly what it was that prompted me to say yes to their invitation. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled to have been asked, but the panic has set in now. Are they going to like what I have to say? Will I sound stupid? Will I freeze? Will they laugh when they’re supposed to? Will I remember anything that I’ve prepared? Will I have toilet paper stuck to my heel? Will my skirt be tucked up into my underwear? Will I freeze when I look out over the crowd and realize that I’m in way over my head?
Yes, people, these are the thoughts that plague me every time I’m faced with a speaking engagement. And yet, I always manage to get through it and I actually start to enjoy myself about five minutes into the monologue and I wonder why I agonize EVERY TIME.
Does anyone else have to give presentations or speeches or present workshops and go through the same thing? Or are you one of those amazing people who thrives on the challenge and lives for the exposure? If so, any tips for this flailing keynote speaker who probably won’t get a good night’s sleep between now and Thursday will be GREATLY appreciated. Please comment. My, ahem, expectations are as low as my confidence level.