When I am first invited to speak/workshop/speech-ify anywhere by anyone, I usually say yes before the other person has even finished his or her sentence.
(I have learnt now to take my time, to delay answering the e-mail, to ask a few questions on the phone…but I know I have agreed way before I give away the fact that I have agreed.)
It is a childhood fantasy, as well as an adult fantasy to be on stage with a microphone, talking and smiling. (I should smile less, I tell myself, as I try to learn to be more like others who seem more successful at this sort of thing. Who are more serious-faced and seem to be taken more seriously!)
So here are my 5 stages of public speaking:
1) Agree immediately. Think of what I will wear.
2) Do nothing much to prepare. Scribble some notes in my phone, which I will later forget to look at.
3) Become unable to sleep/eat/talk/socialise just before the event. Feel nauseous, ill, stricken, headache, lose my way to the airport/venue and get late. This is what the descent to hell must feel like…
4) Go on stage and smile a lot. Speak and present, pause and listen.
5) I’m a born-again human being! I can eat a little. I am alive. I am good! Hello world, I made it to the other side.
Mother, woman, lover, daughter, myself: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts