Speaking in front of people used to be one of my biggest fears. I mean stuttering, turning bright red, awkward hand motions or lack thereof, the whole nine yards. Anything that could possibly be awkward in a presentation, I usually managed to include it (to keep the audience on their toes of course). It was weird though because I could get in front of a group of people and teach them or lead a discussion, but as soon as that word “presentation” was thrown into the mix everything changed… full-blown panic attack action front and center.
Yet, as you can see on my bucket list, one of the things I really wanted was to be asked to speak about social media at a conference. Sick huh? Why would I want to do something that terrified me so much? You probably are wondering (or maybe you aren’t wondering anything, I should probably stop assuming… you know what they say about assuming…), am I one of those freaks that enjoys torturing myself or gets pleasure out of personally positioning myself for public humiliation (go see a therapist, right?)… ha… no, I wanted to be able to take my ability to teach a group of adults and turn that into an opportunity to spread knowledge throughout an even larger audience. It just took a little convincing myself that a presentation was really not much different from teaching, it would just consist of less audience interaction… or I could be creative and dare I say, live on the edge by encouraging audience participation in my presentation (scary, I know), I’ll teeter that edge with practice.
For starters though, I was honored to be asked to participate on a panel discussion of marketing efforts by the community colleges in Virginia at the annual HIRE Education Conference at The Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia early December as a social media strategist. This was a big deal to me, I had only been with Germanna Community College for eight months when the assistant to the Vice Chancellor of VCCS asked me to create a short presentation and participate in the discussion. Of course, out of natural suppressed anxieties over the word presentation being thrown into that request, I procrastinated so I wouldn’t have to face my fear of developing a presentation (it really is such an ugly word, just nod your head and agree with me please).
So, here’s the thing, I teach social media at the community college, Facebook Marketing for Business, Twitter, Blogging, and LinkedIn… so wouldn’t the bright idea be to compile all of that information and share it with a broader perspective for this particular event? Well duh… that would be the smart thing to do, but of course it took a trashcan full of paper balls (sorry Earth, yes, I know, not so “green” of me… I’ll try harder next time), a number of jumbled thoughts, and a few mirror consultations before the light clicked for me. In the end, I found my pitch, my “why you need social media,” the emotional connection that drives me in social communication, and my voice. While the recording is a little shaky (Apple, how about a tripod for the iPhone?… not nerdy at all, I swear), I wanted to share with you my first “big-girl” presentation and opportunity to speak at a conference of 400+ about social media. Please, give me feedback as I’m sharing this to further improve my presentation skills.
Here’s to another check off my bucket list (and hopefully more opportunities to speak in the future)