For those of you who “like” me on Facebook, you would know that I faced my worst fear about a week ago….. and I lived to tell the tale 🙂

I volunteered to give a talk about my business and what exactly a Virtual Assistant is.  Now the key thing to remember here is the word “volunteer”!  I hate speaking in front of more than about 4 people, I panic inside every time I give my 1 minute pitch at networking, yet here I was offering to stand up in front of at least 20 people and talk for TEN WHOLE MINUTES with them all focusing on me!

I’m quite a shy person, I prefer to blend into the background rather than be the centre of attention so, about 10 minutes after volunteering, I had to have a drink (I have to point out here that it was evening time!) 🙂

So, why did I do it? I’m always thinking about my comfort zone and how I need to step outside of it occasionally so this was perfect.  Once I thought about what I’d done, to say I was terrified was a bit of an understatement!  I asked on Facebook if anyone had any tips, and quite a few of you responded so a BIG THANKS to all of you who helped, although the advice about picturing yourself naked was a bit of a no no 😉

One piece of advice was gratefully received from Olwen Dawe, who runs Irish Business Intelligence, she gave me 3 tips to follow:-

1. Break down the talk into sections of time

2. Get your posture right

3. Breathe

  • Break the talk down into equal sections of time

5 minutes about me & my background / 5 minutes about my business & what I do / 5 minutes about what makes me different from other Virtual Assistants out there.

This was great advice as I only had 10 minutes to talk & to break it down into smaller chunks was a lot less daunting – I only had to speak for a few minutes on each section and I even threw in a small exercise for them to think about 🙂

  • Stand Tall

Posture is important – you have an air of confidence about you when you’re standing tall.  To be honest I have no idea how I was standing, I don’t think I was slouching (or at least I hope I wasn’t – it all passed by in a blur!)

  • Breathe

Probably the most important point of all!  Keep breathing normally and try not to talk really fast – as Olwen pointed out to me people don’t mind silence while you collect your thoughts – it’s a bit more interesting than saying “err… erm” repeatedly!

So, how did I do? To be perfectly honest it really wasn’t that bad 🙂  Now I’m not saying that I wasn’t nervous because I was petrified, but my networking group are a bunch of really nice people & I know quite a few of them now.  What made it even better was that I’d prepared.  I had a PowerPoint presentation ready which I’d rehearsed at least 20 times over the weekend previous, so I knew it almost off by heart – which was good as I hadn’t any notes with me!

What surprised me was asking if anyone had any questions at the end – quite a few had and it turned into an extra 10 minute discussion… all about my business!  The feedback I received from the group was very good and encouraging.  One of the main points made was that, although people knew I offered admin support, nobody really knew what I did or what a Virtual Assistant was, so it was kind of like having a one-to-one with me!

Although I think it went okay, the best bit for me was at the end when I got to sit down & the focus of attention went to others around the table!

Am I glad I did it? Absolutely.

Would I do it again? Of course, but only if wine is involved 😉