Thursday, October 14, 2010

One of these is not like the other

Tomorrow afternoon I am speaking at a conference. Yes, you heard me right. I am speaking. In front of people. At a business conference.

You see, earlier this summer I was asked by a friends mom if I would be interested in speaking at a conference. She explained that she was impressed with me and my business and would love for me to talk about my experience to the group that she chairs. I was seriously caught off guard and flattered so I agreed. I obviously did not know what I was getting into.

She followed up with me in late August and made sure that I was still interested. She gave me the date and time information as well as the title of my segment. "Career & Motherhood Challenge: Internet Entrepreneur Solution" is the title of my segment. Sounds pretty simple, right? I mean, basically I am just going to tell my story and then give some practical application on how to go about starting your own business.

I began to put my thoughts together on paper and started thinking about what images I wanted to use with my speech. About a week ago I was emailed the entire program. That is when I started to panic.

The conference is a one-day event and has 5 speakers including myself. As I read over the program, I noticed it. The other four speakers are all doctors! As is they have Phd at the end of their name! Panic set it. There is a professor from 4 major universities. And then there is me.

Now, don't get me wrong. I have a Master's degree. But let's be honest, it is no phd. And I am not a professor so I don't speak all day for a living. So, needless to say I am feeling seriously out of my league. What I thought was going to be a casual speaking engagement has turned into a pretty big deal and I am freaking out.

Oh, and did I mention that my time slot is 45 minutes! Yeah, that is a seriously long time. Please pray for me.



Kelly Irene said...

You are going to do so well! She clearly has a lot of confidence in you to have asked you to speak. You have lots of great information to share, and the lack of a PhD is not a disqualifier. You'll do great!!

J A Hynek said...

Congrats! This is a very cool honor. You'll do great. My high school physics teacher once told me that if he reached one person the class and they learned one thing that day, then the entire day and efforts in it were worth it, good, and not wasted. I assure you some of my classmates thought his class was worthless. I, however, will remember his class and what I learned in it the whole of my life.

With a previous employer, I used to teach a couple of different classes on the US EPA's Clean Air Act regulation. These were 8-hour and 16-hour courses. I was in my mid-20's and my audience was generally composed of people with a minimum of 5 years more experience than I, sometimes as many as 20 years more.

It seemed really daunting at first and I was always nervous. What could I offer as an instructor to a group of people who could quite obviously teach me a great many things? What I came to realize after teaching about 6 of these classes is that my audience might be rich in experience but they did not have my experience, which was very specific. They were paying money to sit in a room for 2 days to listen to me discuss the latest regulatory trends for their industry based on what I (and others in my company had seen). I had something useful to offer all of these veterans. I also used the opportunity to learn from my audience as much as I could gleen from conversation during breaks/meals and the questions they asked during class. So there was benefit for everyone.

I know you are nervous so here are a couple of helpful tips:

1) Just practice your presentation several times tonight to make sure you have the timing down.

2) Hot tea (or coffee I guess) is the best for keeping your vocal chords/throat moist and sounding good. Warm liquid is the key. Cold constricts, warm loosens and relaxes.

3) Most importantly - Do not care what anyone thinks. It doesn't matter what they think. You were asked to give the presentation that already speaks volumes for what people think. Everything else is irrelevent to the presentation. Just be your beautiful self and do your best. What your audience thinks about your performance does not matter one iota. It's not going to change how well you do. It's not going to change your topic or your visual aids. It's not going to change anything at all about what you are about to do. So it's not worth worrying over - it is irrelevent to the exercise. Some will like it and learn. Some will not. You will learn from the experience and that is all that matters in the long run.

Good luck!

bethany said...

I am so excited for you! What a great opportunity! I'm sure you are going to do fantastic-can't wait to hear how it goes!

Stephanie said...

you will be great. how could anyone not think you are totally fabulous?? xoxo, stephanie

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