Wednesday, June 15, 2011

#22: Speak in Front of Hundreds of People

Everyone likes talking about themselves. So when I was asked to join my boss during her keynote presentation at the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Worker's Annual Education and Meeting Day, I made sure to confirm - I'd be talking entirely about my own experiences, right?

Correct. The presentation was on the topic of 'Staying Connected', more specifically, outlining the intricacies and unfathomable growth of online communities. My experience blogging (with Carepages) fit in perfectly as a current example of how an online forum can have a real-life impact. In my brief, ten-minute presentation, I outlined my motivation for starting a blog, the challenges I faced in determining content, and of course the obvious advantages. (No, not because you get to talk about yourself! Because you learn how much people really love you!)

So all I had to do was present on a familiar and straightforward topic, right?


I had to present about a very personal and trying experience in front of hundreds of people. Close to 350 registered for the presentation - and countless more streamed it online!

Fortunately, we were well-prepared. A dress rehearsal was scheduled with 15 of our building's staff, and my boyfriend, officemate and friends were a willing trial audience. When I got up in front of hundreds of strange faces, I trusted in the conviction of my story and my abilities, and delivered a successful presentation (at least that's what my colleague in the audience said).

Public speaking is terrifying - no matter how much you like talking about yourself. But the pride of knowing you faced and conquered your fear, and possibly impacted someone else's life while doing it, is unbeatable.

I would do it again in a second. But for now, I'm sticking to presenting the story I know off-by-heart: my own.

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