Facing my fears: my first venture into public speaking

Last night saw me facing one of my fears and stepping way outside my comfort zone in my first attempt at public speaking. It’s another one to tick off my list of New Year’s Resolutions and I definitely feel a sense of achievement from having done this.

The event I was speaking at was a local networking event for people in the digital industry – OxonDigital. I gave a talk about link building and covered a range of link building techniques that businesses can use to strengthen their websites. The material I covered was all to do with the things I do in the day-to-day course of my job, and with an audience of about 50 people, it was a good introduction to public speaking.

I had obviously given presentations before – to clients, fellow students at university, colleagues and so forth – but never to a group of this size and in this kind of setting. I was really nervous beforehand, but I worked hard to overcome nerves and hope that I came across as more confident than I actually was! I had lots of lovely comments on Twitter after the event, so it seems to have gone down well with the audience, which is a massive relief!

I won’t say “I don’t know what I was so worried about”, because that would be untrue. I know exactly what I was worried about: making a fool of myself, crumbling under pressure, not speaking coherently. It was a big deal for me – that’s why it was one of my New Year’s Resolutions, because it was something I felt would benefit both my personal and professional development. I think it’s always good to challenge oneself by placing oneself in unfamiliar and maybe even scary situations.

So what did I think of the actual experience of public speaking? A lot of people had told me that I would get a massive adrenaline rush after the talk and that I’d want to do lots more of it. I didn’t really experience this, however. I’m glad that I did it – I’m glad to have confronted one of my fears, and glad to have been given the opportunity to raise my profile in the local digital community. It wasn’t as scary as I was expecting and I have no doubt that I could now get up and speak in front of big groups again without a problem. But I wouldn’t say that it gave me a massive thrill or adrenaline rush – just a feeling of satisfaction, increased confidence and yet more professional experience under my belt.

If you’re interested, here are the slides from my presentation:

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8 thoughts on “Facing my fears: my first venture into public speaking

  1. I agree wholeheartedly that for me public speaking for the first time did not leave me with an adrenaline rush that I wanted to jump back on stage for round two, in fact despite the applause for which I was extremely grateful and also slightly overwhelmed by, I was more thankful to simply return to my seat away from the limelight.
    As long as I am knowledgeable or passionate about the topic I will continue to also put myself in these environments in a hope to one day I do not feel like I am about to pass out as soon as all the eyes in the room meet my terrified rabbit caught in the headlights gaze I am positive I must exhibit.
    I’m really pleased your experience went well, and please do share any tips or advice that worked for you personally.

  2. Well done Rachel; to be honest, you never looked uncomfortable or nervous at all (if you were, you hid it really well :-)) Looking forward to hear you speak more often on stage.

  3. Rachel,

    You didi a fantastic job I would have never thought that was your first grown up speaking event!! Look forward to listening again in the future

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