Well, it’s a week on since I faced my fears and delivered my presentation to the 2017 VA Conference in London, and all I can say is “WOW”.
Well, clearly that’s not all I can say, otherwise this would be a pretty short, not to mention uninspiring, blog. But honestly, as natural highs go, that experience, for me, was off the scale. I’m still buzzing!
It’s no secret that I was anxious, and those nerves that I wrote about on the journey down did a pretty good job of multiplying and intensifying as the event got closer. For example:
- I did a read-through the night before in the hotel and panicked that it was waaay too short to fill my allotted hour.
- I looked around at the thousands of visitors on the day, and convinced myself that none of them would come to see me.
- I imagined dreadful scenarios where I forgot huge chunks of information, and got the order all wrong.
- Worst of all, I worried that the message I wanted to convey was one people neither needed, nor wanted, to hear.
I was, in a word, scared. And my Mind Monkey was having a field day. There he was, shrieking and jumping around, excitedly sounding the alarm, gleefully pointing out all the things I should be worried about and everything that could go wrong. He was LOUD.
With his scratchy little claws holding on to my brain for dear life, I watched as my audience filled up the theatre. I saw that extra chairs were needed! I steadied myself, composed myself and with some VERY deep breaths, I took my place at the front and delivered my presentation.
Ostensibly, my talk was about networking, about getting out there and showcasing yourself. But my deeper message – the one that I’d felt so strongly about communicating to others – was about clarity. It was about the importance of being crystal clear about your business and about how you can help people. And I sure as hell wasn’t going to let any furry little mind pest cloud my vision and muddy the waters of THAT message.
So I did it and I loved it. Really, really loved it. Yes I forgot one or two things, and my points didn’t come out exactly in their planned order of delivery, but who knew? Only me.
The slight steering off-course made absolutely no difference to my audience who, judging by the feedback that’s still coming in, were pretty impressed:
- “I would love to connect with you after hearing your fabulous presentation at the VA Conference yesterday. Totally inspired by what you talked about and you offered some great tips on how to network, so thank you!”
- “Great to meet you yesterday at Office and congrats on a brilliant presentation. There were a few “lightbulb moments” for me during your talk. Came back with some new thoughts and ideas as to direction.”
When all was said and done, I was over the moon with the level of positive engagement I got from the audience; I was thrilled that I’d seen it through, and proud that I’d done a great job. As for the little glitches? Mmmm, who gives a monkey’s about them?!
So, here’s my advice: if you have something you really want to do, if you have a message you feel passionately about communicating, if you want to go networking and really tell people about your business and how it can help them…..do it!
I’m not saying that you won’t be scared and uncomfortable, or that you’ll escape the mind monkey’s screeches, filling you with doubt and insecurities. But you can take that fear, the mental chatter, the discomfort and the doubt and you can run with it, because the consequences for you and your business of NOT doing something – like networking – are far greater than you might think.
The best way to shut the furry, negative little nuisance up is to stand up and be clear about who you are and what you have to offer. Don’t leave people confused about what you do, wondering where your services might fit with their business, or second-guessing your skills. Your business is like your child and, like any loving parent, YOU are the only person who is really going to fight for its rightful place in the world. No messing, no hiding, no holding back. So get clear, get out there, and get going!
I know that a lot of people who attended my presentation took photographs of the slides I used, but if you were there and would like them as a reminder, please get in touch and I’ll send a copy to you.