I am not one to jump up to do a public speaking engagement. My anxiety is always through the roof and believe it or not I am very shy. When I was a kid, people would make fun of every aspect of who I was because…well…kids can be cruel. Although things with my family have improved drastically, I was always made to feel like the stupid one who couldn’t possibly have any sense of direction. My teachers thought I was dumb and I started to believe it too.

Last weekend was a moment in my life that came full circle. I got the chance to attend the Spoken Black Girl Magazine Β event that allowed me to share my public speaking skills with a room full of wonderful people. They were inviting, inspiring and beautiful souls.

Although I earned decent grades in speech classes, I never felt like I would ever be good enough. I learned a few things about myself and public speaking that I will carry with me forever.

It’s Ok

So I coined a new phrase that I will be using for everything. It

It is ok to not be ok.

Very simple right? Yea, I thought so too. This phrase is on of the core reasons why I am finally accepting that I am not where I want to be. The fact that I am working on it is all that matters. It also allowed me to get on that stage and share that I was scared to be up there. That I had anxiety and I didn’t have a clue about what to say, but it was ok. See, people respect you more when you come as you are.

Public Speaking is about the message

No one cared about what I was wearing or that I had never done it before. They only cared about the message I shared. Public speaking can be a very valuable tool when used correctly. I have learned that public speaking is about either inspiration, relatable, motivational, informative or fun. I am sure there are other things it can be, but those are the things that I experienced after 10 minutes of talking.

It’s not about me

This is not something I understood right away. Last weekend I went in with the mindset of growing my brand and getting exposure. Thankfully, I walked out with a completely new perspective. NotAnotherBlonde speaks about providing ridiculous amount of value to others and it will come back tenfold. I now understand this concept on a whole new level. I gave my story and I got so much love in return. While it may not have done anything for my brand or my business, I touched a room full of people and the next time they see my name at an event…they will remember me.

I have something to say

So I explained in my talk that I was so worried that I had nothing to share. To be quite honest, I was worried that I would embarrass myself and people would think what I have to share is not relatable or not on point. That couldn’t be any further from the truth. I chose to pick from little small pieces in my life, but the point is I have something to say. I experience so many things in a year that I have plenty of material. It all comes down to believing that its of value.

 

As I go on, I will have more things to share about my journey as a public speaking figure, but for now these are my key takeaways.

 

Do you struggle with public speaking? What do you do to prepare yourself? What have you learned since you first started?

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