In the ninth grade, I was in a public speaking class made up of students from every grade in my high school. This meant that as a terrified freshman, I had to get up and talk in front of a room full of people, including seniors. It was awful.
It was also one of the best things that ever happened to me.
The public speaking teacher made us tape ourselves and going back through those tapes is like listening to a butterfly emerge from a cocoon; a cocoon that said, “Like” a lot. A whole lot.
I never had a problem when I taped myself singing Barbra Streisand’s “Memories” in our half bathroom as a 5 year old, but put me in front of an audience at 14 and there was no chance of me belting out a tune, because I could barely talk. My speeches and stories ended up a jumbled mess of nervousness that were half Cindy Brady on a quiz show and half Miss Teen USA, circa 2007. Such as.
But, blogging has changed something in me, and my job most certainly has. I “talk” to tens-of-thousands of people every day now and I’ve learned that if you are truly authentic, it’s not so scary. Though, I’m not going to lie, speaking in front of roughly 4,000 people last summer was enough to give me nervous poops. See? Authentic.
In a few weeks, I’ll be in NYC to speak at BlogHer’s annual conference again; first as a Pathfinder (a HUGE honor) and then as a moderator/panelist on how beginners can leverage Facebook and Twitter to increase traffic and engagement on your blog. Did you hear that? That was my mom saying, “You lost me at traffic.”
In the planning of the all-day Pathfinder workshop and the social media panel, I find that I’m not nervous in the least. Instead, I am excited; practically bursting at the seams to talk, share, listen and learn. I will be among the best and brightest bloggers in the world and I will stand before them as my authentic self. Well, unless I run into Katie Couric or Martha Stewart in the green room, in which case I’ll freak out and sweat a lot. Fair warning, ladies. Especially you, Katie.
It feels good to not worry about public speaking anymore and it feels great to know that I have the confidence to say so.
It’s, like, going to be totally great!