So, I’m going to be real with you guys. I am the kind of person WHO LOVES to be behind the scenes. I love conceptualizing, creating, building and really getting my hands dirty. I am very used to presenting my work to fellow peers, managers, clients, etc. but I’ve NEVER presented my work in front of an audience. I’ve actually never been in front of a huge audience.
However, strangely enough, there is a small fire in me that’s been wanting to break out of that comfort zone. One of my goals in life is to stand on a stage similar to TED or HOW and speak on something that I am hugely passionate about, whether that is design, bringing yourself best self or something to really help send a message out to those who want to strive more for themselves.
At our company, we have quarterly Town Halls where our CEO will update the business on how we’re doing. He and a few others are typically the presenters for the 2-hour meeting. This time around, we as a team (People Team) decided to do a little spot light for the us because we’re bad ass and we have some really cool projects coming down the pipeline and its FREAKIN EXCITING (woohoo!) By the way, People Team is our HR team, we just call ourselves People Team because we care about our People, hence… People Team.
My SVP informed my manager and I that we would be going up to the mic to present our work.
[MY WORLD LITERALLY STOPPED AND MY HEART FELL OUT OF MY CHEST]
Two things came racing to my mind…
1. OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD IM SO SCARED AND NERVOUS WHAT AM I GOING TO SAY?! WHERE DO I EVEN BEGIN?! JUST HOW?!
2. OH MY GOD THIS IS SO AWESOME! I’M SO EXCITED I GET TO FINALLY BE IN FRONT OF A LARGE AUDIENCE AND CROSS THIS OFF MY BUCKET LIST AND OVERCOME MY FEAR! WAHHH **happy jump**
So, if you’re like me and you have a WANT to go up on stage but all of your insides are telling you to not even think about it…this is my little (not so little) piece of advice that helped me overcome my fear.
If you’re presenting work that you have been working on for the last couple months, YOU of all people should be the one standing up there. This was pretty much what my managers told me. “You made it, so you go shine” and they was right. There isn’t anyone who could have told a better story about my work than ME.
PRACTICE & PREPARE.
I told myself not to overthink it and to just really go with the flow and go up there impromptu and just speak on it. Nope. WRONG. Unless you are very good at being on the spot, you NEED to practice. For me, practicing meant reciting my script in the car, in the shower, as I brushed my teeth… wrote it down on paper, wrote it down again… and even did a rehearsal with my team. Preparation and practice is key. The more you are comfortable with your delivery the easier it’s going to be. AND TRUST ME, until I got up in front of everyone I STILL didn’t feel like I was ready – but I was 100% ready.
EVERYONE GETS NERVOUS.
I was going through the presentation with my CEO (who gets in front of people to speak all the time) and he noticed that I was a little extra on edge that morning (Town Halls makes me really nervous in general, LOL). He asked how I was doing and I told him that I was really nervous because I was speaking and that I had been practicing for weeks and it was my first time doing something like that. He immediately told me that I was going to be fine and that he himself still gets very nervous and has to rehearse. (PHEW!) I also found comfort knowing that my very own SVP and manager was just as nervous as I was. That’s when I knew that like myself, EVERYONE is human and getting nervous is 100% normal no matter how many times you’ve done it.
One piece of advice my CMO gave me is that instead of telling yourself, “I’m nervous” tell yourself, “I’m excited” cause it’s the same feeling.
I was under this illusion that because I was getting in front of a huge audience with some of those people being executives, that I really had to bring myself in a very prim and proper matter. I was given the advice to actually NOT do that and to be myself. This OBVIOUSLY doesn’t mean I went up there and was just super casual about the whole thing. The material I was presenting meant a lot to me and was a very helpful tool, so I definitely had to be professional about that BUT I gave it a little bit of my flavor. It also helps that a lot of my peers know how bubbly and animated I am so it definitely didn’t come as a surprise – so that was really helpful. So definitely know your audience, be confident but still be yourself!
JUST DO IT.
I don’t mean to sound all Nike.. but, honestly, the only way to get over something is just to do it. As my manager told me, the worse thing that could happen is having everything completely fall apart, but at the end of the day, tomorrow people will wake up and go on with their lives. So take it from me people, unless you go up and actually shit your pants… it’s going to be fine.
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH LOVE.
If it wasn't for my family, friends, boyfriend ESPECIALLY my managers... I wouldn't have been able to do this. Huge thank you to our fearless People Team Leader, Roxane, for taking me out of my comfort zone and giving me the opportunity to do this.
Would I do it again?
Up next...Washington!! First time on a panel speaking to 150+ students and parents alongside my mentor, an incredibly talented designer, Cody Saya. Am I nervous for this? YOU BETTER BELIEVE. I cannot wait!