If you would have told me 6 months ago that I would be co-emceeing an event…on a microphone…in front of 150 people… I would have told you that you were crazy. When it comes to public speaking, I am as shy as they come. I cried on the first day of school every year until 5th grade. I couldn’t go into my first Girl Scouts meeting growing up and the same with gymnastics or any other extra curricular activity that my parents signed me up for. I suppose the thought of having to stand and introduce myself in front of a group of people made me a little anxious. I partially grew out of that phase as a child, but I still consider myself to be more on the shy side. So when Meals on Wheels of Tarrant County reached out to me about emceeing their event called “High Heels and Hot Meals”, for a moment I thought I was being punked. Me? You want me? Are you sure you aren’t confusing me with someone else? My first thought was that there was no way I would be able to do it. I honestly didn’t think I’d even be able to walk up to the microphone without fainting, much less actually speaking…in front of people. If you’ve been following along, then you probably remember this post which goes a little more in depth about the event and all of the amazing things that Meals on Wheels does for our community. But today, I’m going to share how I prepared for the event in hopes that it will inspire you to step out of your comfort zone.
When I found out that Samantha Stewart, from Style of Sam, was going to be hosting the fashion show portion of the event with me, I could not have been more excited. I first met Sam last Fall and it seems as if we instantly bonded. Aside from being a blogger, she’s a wife, mother of two, pharmacist and kind of like a ray of sunshine. In fact, her nickname is “Samshine” which couldn’t be more fitting. When Sam and I met up at the Bubbles, Brunch and Banter event in April, we began working out logistics of the show. We both agreed that we wanted to get some personal coaching as we really wanted to make Meals on Wheels proud….and of course, I needed extra coaching on “How to Speak in front of People without Fainting.” We sat next to Tiffany Hendra, who you probably remember from the first season of Real Housewife of Dallas. Tiffany now spends her days as a mentor and media coach empowering women to step out of their comfort zone and reach their greatest potential. We came up with a plan to schedule some 90 minute intensive sessions with Tiffany to get us in tip-top shape.
Aside from personal coaching, Tiffany offers multiple “Rock the Camera” workshops every year, one of which I had the pleasure of attending last Fall. She truly has a passion for helping others find their voice, and is one of the most down to earth people I have ever met. I don’t know how she does it, but she’s clearly a miracle worker in my case.
In the weeks leading up to our first session, Tiffany sent Sam and I some vocal exercises to get started strengthening our voice. I practiced the exercises whenever I got the chance, but to be honest, my anxiety grew the closer we got to the first session. In fact, the night before we met with Tiffany, I joked with Sam about how I needed to use my self-tanner on my face to give myself a little color and hopefully distract from how red I would probably be…only, I wasn’t joking. 😉
Our first meeting focused on our overall stage presence. Posture, stance, volume, what do I do with my hands– all things that I hadn’t even thought about but definitely need a lot of help with. One of the biggest pieces of advice that Tiffany gave us was to really have fun with it and to not be scripted. I have no problem with memorizing lines as I could recite just about any book in my children’s library…but I knew I needed some sort of visual to look at when I was standing in front of
a million 150 people. Tiffany gave us the brilliant idea to have custom notecards with bullet speaking points as opposed to lines. We had the event hashtag printed on the back to make us feel a little more official….move over Savannah Guthrie! 😉 We continued to work on various exercises and at the end of our first session, I can honestly say that I felt so much more confident. I knew I still needed help, but I was beginning to feel like I could actually do this.
Two weeks later, we met again for the second time in Sam’s beautiful home. Sam and I both agreed that we would introduce each other. We thought that not only would this help take the pressure off of ourselves, but it would make it a little more fun! As we continued to practice our introductions in front of Tiffany and work out overall logistics of the show, I can honestly say that I was really starting to believe in myself; I could do this! Not only did I feel like I could do it, but I was really getting excited about it!
When the day of the event arrived, much to my surprise I was not nervous. Three months ago I could practically feel the ulcers forming in my stomach, but the day is finally here and I don’t even have a few butterflies? Who dis? 😉
Although the nerves had not set in just yet, I chose to forego the natural route and opted for my toxic aluminum filled deodorant that day….just in case! 😉 We prepped around the clock that day, between model fittings, rehearsals and general logistics of the show. I kept running through all of Tiffany’s tips in my head and managed to keep my cool. Before we knew it the event had begun and it was our turn to go on stage.
I am happy to report that the event was a success and I know that there is no possible way I could have done this without Tiffany. I wanted to share my experience today in hopes that it would inspire someone else to take that leap of faith. When I attended Tiffany’s workshop in the fall, someone shared the quote “Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone,” and it has stuck with me ever since. You can continue to go through the motions and play it safe, or you can push yourself and do something great. If you are interested in personal coaching with Tiffany, you can visit her website here. And trust me, if I can do it, anyone can do it!
Photos by Maria Ciszek