This week, I had a great conversation with a director of a speakers bureau about joining its roster. Public speaking is an excellent way to raise my profile and increase my chances of getting published.
|TimeOut Chocolate Bar Launch – 1998|
I have come a long way from my grade eight speech on sharks when I froze half-way through my talk. I became paralyzed when I realized that thirty classmates were staring at me. I stopped breathing, which made my voice sound higher than it already was. Panicked, I squeezed my shark’s jaw prop until one of the teeth punctured my skin. I looked through watery eyes at my teacher who gave me a “keep going” look. Somehow I regained the ability to take in air and got through the rest of my presentation. I did not like public speaking.
|Commercial Training Program – 2006|
In the mid-90s, I accepted a job that required excellent public speaking skills. The role description noted that sixty percent of the time would be spent facilitating training or keynote speaking. Not much had changed since my ‘shark tank’ experience but it was an exciting opportunity.
My first seminar on customer service was painful although my breathing was surprisingly good. Like most things, challenges get easier with experience and I started enjoying being in front of crowds. It became fun – especially when people laughed at my jokes, exhausting and rewarding. Eventually, I was more comfortable in front of large groups than I was off-stage.
|Change Speaking Engagement – 2012|
Since then, public speaking has been a staple of my career and something I still enjoy. I am looking forward to regularly speaking to groups, as long as I don’t have to talk about sharks.