What to say – and how did I say it?
I recently accomplished a personal best as I reached 2,000 hits to my blog. A fairly cheesy feat to many, but sort of exciting for me. I’m sure a good 100 or so of those hits are my own, but it’s still a pretty big thing. I was a little excited after reaching 1,000 hits but that was when I was still in school and colleagues were posting on my site because they had to reach a minimum as oppose to posting because they liked what I said. After a recent post about how I didn’t think I had any fans I received an alarming amount of responses. People actually like what I have to say. This led me to think about the future of my blog. I am not a student any more and although I am still very new to the world of PR, I really want my blog to be a place where people actually learn something rather then just hearing about my experiences.
I truly believe that you learn something everyday, especially in this industry. I do struggle however when decided what is confidential and what is public information. In pretty much any business there are confidentiality agreements and therefore I don’t know what key learning’s I am able to share outside of my co-workers. So as someone who focuses on sharing her personal experiences with others through her blog, it has come to the point where I really don’t know what I can share. Do other bloggers feel they face similar challenges? How do you get around not giving away too much when sharing your experiences with others?
One experience I feel confident in sharing occurred just the other day as I gave my first speaking presentation at a monthly staff meeting. I was nervous about the topic I was presenting on as I really did not contribute greatly to the project, but I figured I was more or less asked to see where my presentation skills really were rather then for my expertise. I am not an incredibly nervous speaker and I actually like the attention. Before any speaking publically in most situations I’d say I’m pretty calm, and then the second I open my month the nerves take over and I talk a as fast as I can (which normally is pretty fast – so I’m talking super-speed here). I know I am doing it but cannot slow myself down. So during my first speaking opportunity in front of my colleagues I was fairly confident that I was going to spit out the words of my nicely prepared presentation as fast as I could.
Now I’m not going to say I rocked it, but I think I did a pretty good job. I maintained decent eye contact and said every key point I had prepared. I think my pace was decent compared to previous experiences and I only stumbled over a few words. People told me afterwards that I did a good job (they were probably just being nice), but overall I’d say for a first time it was pretty damn good.
I should probably clear up for the record that I was only speaking for approximately 1-2 minutes.
So, why do I think I did better then other public presentations? Well firstly I think I was well prepared. Being as nervous as I was I spent a fair amount of time writing and re-writing my notes. Practice really does make perfect. Secondly, I rehearsed. I rehearsed out loud many times and made it flow as best I could. I made edits each time and really focused on making it right. Finally, my own personal touch, I highlighted key works. I’m sure I am not the first to think of this phenomenon, but I think it really works. Like most people I write my notes out in point form, and then I highlight one or two words in the point that are really the focus of what I am trying to say. For example, one of my bullet points read:
“We wanted to take advantage of this opportunity to engage consumers and build brand awareness of the *** program.”
It is not an incredibly challenging point to remember, but I simply highlighted the words ‘engage’ and ‘brand awareness’ so if I happen to glance down at my page my eyes are drawn to the focus of the point. Even if I get the other words wrong I managed to get the key words out. Or if I forget the point altogether my eyes will recognize those words therefore remembering the rest.
Again, I’m no genesis or revolutionary in using this technique, but for anything who struggles with public speaking or having to remember lines – give it a try.