Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Public Speaking ... Bust?

Saturday morning I went to an event at Lake Zurich High School where I was asked to speak at the community and business expo where about 300-500 people were expected to be in attendance. When I arrived there were many people, however, not all of them decided to attend my little lecture. In fact, there were only about 10 people there. Bummer!

I walked up to the stage after I was introduced and was handed the microphone. I spoke into it introducing myself and realized that I was now being heard all throughout the expo, but I was only actually speaking to about 10 people. This frightened me. It was strange to feel such nervousness come over me because I have spoken in front of groups of people more times than I can count. It was tying my shoes ... something I did all the time! But this was a first for me with a loud microphone in a big room with only 10 people actually there to listen.

I knew immediately that I should just put down the microphone and speak to the people straight from my mouth. With such a small group not only would it have been easier to communicate and ask questions, but it would have made me feel a hundred million times more comfortable. However, I let the "rules" get the best of me, and I continued talking over the loud mic. SHAME. ON. ME. I should have listened to my guts. In my opinion my talk completely lacked my spunky energy and was blah, lame, stupid. I was soooo bummed and disappointed with my performance and immediately after I finished I walked up to my boyfriend who had come to watch and said, "Well, I stunk up the room, lets get out of here before they start throwing tomatoes."

Adam (boyfriend) said that I did a fine job, and that I probably just thought it was a bust because its not the environment I was used to. Well ... OK. Think of it what you will, Adam ... but it stunk. However, I learned a lesson from this. I learned that you have to learn to adjust to the situation and know what is right for you. It would have been better for me to just trust my gut, put down the microphone, speak loudly and make certain with the audience that everyone could hear me. I should have asked the questions I planned to ask in order to engage the group, and I should have taken my time to speak the way I had intended to from the beginning. I let the chaos of the situation and the unfamiliarity take over my strengths as a speaker, and although I feel it was a miserable talk, I am glad to have had the experience with only a small group of 10 people instead of the 300 that were expected to show. That way, I learned, and hopefully I will have a better idea of what to do the next time something like that happens!!!

Yay! You live. You learn. You move on. I love life lessons, don't you?!


BrantGumber said...

Hi there Ashley, first time writer LOL. I think you should be happy knowing you took a chance trying to influence just one person's life (which is more than the rest of us can say) and not have regrets of whether or not you reached everyone in that gym. Love your blog!

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