Public speaking

Presentation on, Andy’s Man Club and Mental Health in the Caerphilly area, in conjunction with PositiveVibes, to Caerphilly County Borough Council.

Andy’s Man Club, a place for men to talk, is something I’ve been involved with for sometime. We’d been invited to attend an event, in which we would perform a presentation on the club and what it has to offer.

As I’ve mentioned earlier, public speaking, presentations and training courses, were activities I didn’t enjoy in the slightest. Worrying about them in a pub normally the night before, then going to bed, only to be wide awake preparing for the following day.

We had already presented to Samaritans, a few weeks before. In this instance though, there were two of us. This took a fair amount of pressure off, both before the presentation and during it.

With two people presenting, you can bounce off each other, when the presentation stalls, the other person fills the gap. Plus, we were utilising the club’s PowerPoint presentation, which is the preferred method.

There wasn’t any other member of the club, who could attend this event, so I enthusiastically said, I’d do it alone.

Preperation.

It would be fine, I’d personalise the presentation, adding the correct date and venue. Attend the event, play the slideshow, or the backup video I’d prepared. This taking ten to fifteen minutes and fill the other five minutes or so, of our slot, taking questions.

The event.

Arriving at the event, walking into a busy room full of people, with small stands, and other people going about their business.

It suddenly hits me, here I am then, on my own. These are the people that I will be presenting to. Life is also quite different now, this felt like a completely new experience. This would be the first time I’d participated in a presention to strangers, alone, for maybe ten years.

I was introduced to the other speakers, had a cup of coffee, a chat, then began to prepare. Concentrating on nothing but the job in hand, centering myself, relaxing in the environment.

Confirmation.

It’s at this point, we, Shan the organiser and myself realise, there is nowhere for me to plug my laptop in to the projector. Or the USB drive I’ve brought with me as a backup, the connections are obsolete. The projector was only and could only be connected to a DVD player.

This previously, would have sent me into a complete panic. I’d have been phoning the office and complaining, that they’d told me it would all be setup ready, for me to get on with my job. That, I cannot work like this, this is a disaster, why isn’t anything done properly.

Basically, blaming anyone I could shout at, when they could do very little about it now.

Calmness.

Instead, we chose to briefly discuss our options. Obviously, there was no way the presentation couldn’t go ahead, there were quite a few people there to witness it.

With the work I’ve done on myself, the confidence I now have in myself and the calmness I possess in my mind. I said, I’ll improvise, there’s nothing else that can be done. I’ll speak from the heart and attempt to remember all the important points.

The speakers.

Taking our seats, we are introduced to Jamie, who is quite a man, with an amazingly inspiring story to tell. He’s been motivational speaking for a couple of years now, he tells me.

His ability to command the room, getting everyone involved, is skilful. His story is compelling, I mean this guy, has pushed himself up Pen-y-Fan in a wheelchair, after waking up one morning unable to walk. He then goes on to tell us, that next year, he’s planning another incredible challenge.

I can’t deny it, for a couple of seconds, I’m starting to think, I have to follow that. Then I smiled, stopped thinking and starting listening again. For the most part, I’m not comparing myself to other people any longer, if I do have a slip up, I’m conscious of it, and stop.

Awareness.

The baseline now is, nobody is better than me, and I am no better than anybody else. Added to that though, I am not anyone else’s equal either, I am unique, as we all are.

Also remembering, we all have our own story, which is no less important than somebody else’s. Plus, I was there to primarily talk about Andy’s Man Club, albeit on my own, unrehearsed (winging it).

I couldn’t have imagined a worst-case scenario previously, but then, these days I don’t imagine worst-case scenarios. Jamie finished his talk, we applauded, then it was my turn.

Comfortable.

Again, I don’t recall ever feeling this comfortable, on a stage, elevated, being the centre of attention in a room, filled with faces.

In fact, I’d have done anything not to be in this situation previously, which over the years has prevented me participating in activities that friends were taking part in.

I didn’t feel self-conscious, nervous, or worried that it wouldn’t go well. I relaxed and spoke, stalled briefly, forgot momentarily, then spoke again.

A great day.

I would clearly always have had the opportunity to tell part of my own story, this is something I’m obviously very comfortable with, it’s admittedly different telling it, in front of people I don’t know. As opposed to writing it on a website, for whoever would like to see it, to do just that. It’s happened, I am who I am today because of it, and I’m owning it for the greater good.

This was a real experience and a great day. I’m told the presentation, as a whole, was well recieved. The information provided will hopefully be of use, in the formation of a club in the Caerphilly area. I again met some fantastic, like minded people, who really do want to address issues we are currently experiencing in our local and greater communities.

Let’s get started on you becoming calm and confident, being at ease with yourself in any situation. Give me a call 07494677126 or email jason@contentedlifecoaching.com today.

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