My first solo keynote was this week, at the BETT Academies show. The show was dead & the room was quiet, but the audience were supportive & engaged.
My first TEDx talk was yesterday in Norwich.
It didn't really sink in until last Sunday that I was doing it. It has been a crazy few months of changing jobs, moving house, running recruitment and managing admissions for my new school.
I hadn't really had time to process what I had committed to. I didn't have time to get nervous or 'feel the fear'.
Until Thursday. Two days before the event.
I sat down with my notes & the following facts suddenly dawned on me:
You are speaking live, in front of 350 people.
You are travelling down and sharing this experience with close friends who you respect and admire including two of your new SLT.
You are going to be caught on film, on Youtube forever.
You are potentially about to commit career suicide.
The gremlins got me. The panic set in.
I spent 48hrs rehearsing my speech over and over. I recorded it on my phone and listened to it, cringing.
I stood in front of my mirror and practised standing still, not rocking from foot to foot and not swinging my arms.
On Friday night I tentatively sent an audio file to someone who I hold in high professional & personal regard. @awilliams gave me brilliant constructive feedback on my content & my delivery.
I slept on it. I woke at the crack of dawn. I practised again.
It was past the point of no return. It was D-Day. I was in Norwich. I was at the venue.
From 9am until 4pm I watched & listened to the superb speakers. My nerves were in check, under control.
I borrowed Natalie's mascara & reapplied the war paint. My armour.
Standing in the wings about to go on stage I felt sick to the pit of my stomach. Sean the techy cracked a few jokes & gave me some water to sip.
Then I heard my name being introduced, my career trajectory being shared. I walked on to stage to hollers of support from my tribe. I stood on the red spot & looked up. I composed myself & I began.
I will blog separately about the issues I spoke about regarding diversity in our school system. My Why for speaking. These reflections are on the journey I have been on and my How.
I didn't nail it. It wasn't perfect. I fluffed a few words. I forgot my closing statement. But does it matter?