I’ve returned from my cross-country trip to D.C. where I, Betsy Kerekes, spoke at a conference and have lived to tell the tale.
When I whined about having to give a speech in front of a boatload of people, many of you said, “You’ll be great!” And I thought, “How do you know?”
But in truth, well, you were right. 🙂 It went really well, and the feedback was warm and positive. As I walked back to my book table, several people said nice things to me along the way. I forgot to turn my recording device off right away, so my husband was able to hear proof of that.
The man who spoke ahead of me and who does this sort of thing all the time, gave me the best compliment. He looked at me in all seriousness and said one word: “Fantastic.” That was validating, y’all.
Let me back up a bit. We’re talking months of nerves leading up to this one hour of public speaking. As my dear friend who volunteered to accompany me and I pulled up to the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, MD, I said, “What am I doing here? I can’t do this!”
My friend said, “You’ll be fine.”
“Easy for you to say. You just get to sit back and watch.”
“Heck, yeah,” she said. “I could never do this!”
Honest to the end.
The country club of country clubs, where senators and ambassadors golf, one person said–and I could see why. It was epic. These two pictures are from the back side of the building. Sorry I don’t have a shot of the front with its plethora of Corinthian columns.
We walked in and I immediately saw copies of my first book scattered on tables throughout the room. They were given to all the attendees. No complaints here!
When I checked in as one of the speakers, I was told I was at table one. Table one! When have I ever been seated anywhere but the nosebleed section at an event? Whoa.
My friend and I set up the book table and took our seats for the first speaker. Later she told me she thought I was going to wear my thumbs off rolling them over and over again all through that first talk. She said I looked so nervous.
But here was the crazy thing: it wasn’t nerves at all. I just kept thinking, “How much longer? When will he be done? Please hurry up and finish.” I still enjoyed his talk, but I just wanted to get on with mine! I wasn’t nervous, I was eager! Ridiculously eager to get started.
So, when the emcee announced me, (I got announced!) I was just about the picture of calm. I took the microphone confidently and launched right in. I thought my voice was shaky at first, but was later told it wasn’t at all.
The audience laughed at my jokes except maybe two, but then they laughed at times I didn’t mean to be funny, so I’d say it balanced out. The only problem was that I was so concerned about not being obvious about checking my note cards that I ended up skipping a few things and wound up finishing 5-10 minutes early.
I was told to leave time for Q/A but was hoping to minimize that for fear of what I’d be asked. However, I was feeling so good at that point, I wasn’t bothered. In fact, I was glad of the opportunity to throw some more solid points out there through my answers to a couple of the questions.
Though I went in thinking, “I can’t do this!” I finished thinking, “When can I do this again?” But undoubtedly I’ll go through this same nerve-riddled process all over again the next time, if, God willing, there is a next time. But I’ll try not to whine so much. 🙂
Thank you, as always, faithful friends, for reading! As your reward, check out this picture of my fabulous creme brulee French toast at brunch Sunday at a French cafe. I’m practically salivating just looking at it. Mmm. Mmm. Good. Of course, I might just be hungry. Since I’m five-months pregnant, I’m always hungry.