I not only did the keynote address at the Women in Podcasting festival, I also acted as host. I normally hide in the shadows at our events and let Rob handle things, but I knew this was a huge opportunity to add to my list. I was the person who introduced each podcast and it was challenging. Getting up in front of everyone and speaking did not get easier the more I did it. It actually got harder for me, but I hung in there and kept trying even though I was awkward and uncomfortable.
I was beyond terrified to tell the parts of my story that I was planning on sharing. I had never used my voice in such a public way. This was personal. This wasn’t me talking about a TV show on a podcast. This was real and intimate and raw. I got up there and told the truth and stumbled and struggled, but I got up there and I did it and it was terrifying and didn’t get easier as I went along. I never got comfortable. I never felt like I was in flow or in the zone. I simply endured it.
I’m not cut out to be a public speaker in that way. I love to be interviewed and I can do public speaking like this on a podcast where there’s a buffer between me and the faces watching me, but I don’t ever want to do a keynote address ever again. Do I regret it? No way. It’s important to try things and figure out if it’s fear that’s blocking you or maybe it’s just how you’re wired. Rob can get up in front of any size audience and talk about most topics without any prep or warning. He is absolutely wired to be a teacher and a public speaker and game show host. I’m absolutely not. I can write. I can talk. I cannot eloquently express myself on stage in front of an audience. I can’t memorize even one line of anything. It’s ok to try things and learn that you aren’t wired that way. It’s ok to say, “I appreciate you inviting me to speak at —-, but I prefer interview style. Would someone be willing to interview me, instead?” It’s ok to know what your skillset is and to ask for the ways that would help you be the most successful at getting your message out. Regardless of my stumbling, I got the words out and I survived.
Sometimes bravery is using your voice for the first time.