Last week, at 41, I had a "first time." Well, sorta. I did my first official live & in person training class for real estate agents. Oh, I've done lots of training classes for real estate agents... online and on the phone. I've also done lots of public speaking ... about health insurance (my past life). I've even done live presentations to real estate agents... but they were short promos in conjunction with the release of my book.
I just hadn't yet put it all together and done an honest-to-goodness-more-than-45-minute-interact-with-the-real-estate-agent-audience training session. And you know how something you haven't done yet (but know you need to do) can scare you to death, especially the longer you don't do it?
Oooooooh, all the things that can go wrong... maybe no one will show up and you'll be speaking to an audience of one. Maybe you'll get off to a bad start and alienate your audience before you even get warmed up. Maybe your two-hour presentation will be over in 45 minutes because you nervously spoke at three times your normal pace. Maybe no one will ask any questions during the Q&A breaks. Speaking of breaks, maybe no one will return after the mid-session 5-minuter... Oh, yes... so much that can go wrong.
Well, none, and I mean NONE of these things happened. Just the opposite, in fact. We had a full-house (not only did just about everyone show up; many brought friends!), my introduction went just fine, we ran about 15 minutes over and everyone stayed even though I gave them permission to leave, I got lots of great questions and no one bailed at the break.
And I had FUN! I LOVED it! I didn't want it to end, seriously! I coulda' stayed on that stage all day long and happily come back for more after a dinner break.
This is huge for me. If I want to be a rich and famous writer, I need to be comfortable speaking to audiences (it's part of the package - selling books alone is not a well-worn path to prosperity). But to tell you the truth, I've balked at the notion ever since Inna informed me last year I had to do it. Oh, I had all kinds of excuses... I'd have to pay for a dog-sitter while I was traveling, I have a real estate business to run, I'm not entertaining enough to keep anyone awake, I'm really bad at pre- and post-show small-talk... but the truth was that I was scared of failing; of making a fool of myself. Of doing the wrong things with my hands or nervously swaying at the podium or saying "um" after every fifth word - all the things you read about in the "How to Wow Your Audience" self-help books.
I have at least a dozen invitations to speak to groups across the country that I've been subconsciously putting off because I wasn't sure of my ability to deliver. But now... I can't WAIT. I HAVE a message to share and I know I'm perfectly capable of sharing it in an entertaining, informative, don't-worry-you-won't-fall-asleep manner.
Bring on the dog-sitter!