At yesterday’s TEDxSFU, I was lucky enough to have a group of great friends with me to ease my frazzled nerves: the amazing Lynn, Erica May, and Angela. Between the presentations, we talked and laughed and caught up on life. We also met loads of other folks by making sure that if they were on their own, they were invited to join us. We ended up having a great lunch hour with a group of SFU employees and yes, we showed pictures of our cats. This is a requirement at all events.
A wonderful thing about being in my 40s is that I’ve been doing what I’m doing for long enough now that I generally know what I’m talking about, or at least try to stick to talking about things I know. I wasn’t worried about my talk (I had done a version of it before at Pecha Kucha Vancouver) nor was I concerned with speaking to a large audience, presenting at ATypI over the years had prepared me for that. The (silly) fear of being filmed was what terrified me. However, as I’ve learned over the years, you’ve gotta do it, even though you’re scared. So I did.
(And oh my, I cannot even imagine what it is like to speak at the big TED . . . I’d probably just lay down and die from the pressure to be simultaneously brilliant AND amazing. How did Marian do it?)
May I suggest something to you? It means so much to me if, after I give a public talk, you come up to me, say ‘Hey’, and tell me what parts you liked the best (if you liked any at all!). Because my comfort zone is in a classroom where I can sense and respond to people’s reactions, there are times when talks can feel isolating. Getting your feedback in person at the event itself helps me to connect with the reason why I’m doing it (and putting myself through the wringer) again, and it’s become both invaluable and necessary to me. And perhaps you should do the same to other speakers – I’ll bet they feel similar to me!
So to all of the people that talked to me, from the cutie-pie TEDx SFU volunteers (shout out to Christina & Hope!), to the people in the lobby after the talk, to those in the food line with me, thank you for your kind words of reassurance. It really does help me get through the scary parts.