So last week I was thrown in at the deep end, work had two events scheduled but due to a scheduling conflict the original speaker wasn't able to attend so last minute I was asked to fill in and speak instead. Apart from a small lunch n' learn session with some colleagues nearly eight years ago I'd never done any public speaking so this was a very scary prospect indeed, however, one of the items on my to-do/bucket list for 2017 was to find an event to speak at so here was my opportunity!
With less than 24 hours to prepare I set about taking the slide deck my colleague had prepared and making my own notes around it so that I wasn't going in cold to the event. The event topic was around how charities could use Office 365 and it's different products to communication more effectively and efficiently within their organization. With so little time to prepare I concentrated on writing some bullet point style notes down around what I knew about Office 365 Groups, Microsoft Teams, Yammer, Delve, Skype for Business, SharePoint, Planner, etc. and figured out what would make a good demo.
On arriving to the event and setting up laptop I discovered that the projector I was to use only had a VGA connection and my laptop only has a HDMI connection! Queue panic but thankfully I was able to borrow a Microsoft Surface device and thanks to the power of the cloud/Office 365 I was able to setup the device exactly as I needed it without any hassle. The first of the two events of the day went really quickly, my nerves and caffeine fueled brain managed to deliver content on all the collaboration tools within Office 365 and perform some small demos. I did try to follow the slide deck I've been given the day before but as I didn't know it intimately it meant I was having trouble trying to use it effectively. When it came to the second event I ditched the slide deck and went "freestyle", this felt much more fluid to me and was less stressful!
After the events I realized two things:
- Although public speaking is scary, I survived it;
- It's something I CAN do, it's not out with my skill set! With proper preparation and more practice, I definitely think I can overcome the nerves and become a confident public speaker. Reading Corey House's blog post about he starting speaking and how it has changed his life is motivational, not sure I'll ever reach his heights but you never know, dare to dream!
"Things are always hard before they become easy." - Thomas Fuller