Public speaking is really scary.
I’ve done a decent job of picking a career path that mostly avoids it. But I’ve also realized that it’s a good skill to have. And I should probably start figuring out how to do it.
Sort of like riding a bike. But not really because I figured out how to do that just fine when I was little and now I refuse completely.
Anyway, last year I was attending a professional organization’s national conference and they had an open call for speakers to do “ignite talks”. An ignite talk is 20 slides, 15 seconds a slide, and the slides automatically advance, forcing the speaker to stick to a very strict presentation format. In other words, it is an intense experience.
I decided to enter an idea for the fun of it.
“Oh, it’d be kind of funny to talk about this with people who understand my job, I’ll just submit my idea and see what happens. Ha ha ha. La la la.”
Then the idea was selected. And I was horrified.
Two weeks of living and breathing that presentation. Two weeks of practice. In front of people, in the shower (not at the same time, thank you very much), quietly on the train. By the end, I may have had it memorized so well it could have been said backwards.
The speech happened in front of 1,000 people. And lo and behold, I didn’t die. It was actually kind of fun.
And then I discovered there are Ignite organizations all over the United States. Again, I submitted an idea to the local Chicago chapter. And it was picked. Cue the mortified feelings again.
What was my topic, you ask?
Crochet, obviously. Or to be more specific, how I’ve worked so hard to cultivate this “cool suburban working mom” persona, but I have a deep dark obsession that will ruin everything I’ve worked so hard for.
That obsession being crochet. Because let’s get real- there are thousands upon thousands of us out there, but people still think only grandmas actually do it. We get a lot of weird looks when we start talking about hook size and worsted weight and the best sales at Micheal’s and why I can’t have another baby because I’ll lose the room I hoard my yarn in.
Oh is that just me?
So yes. I spoke in front of a crowd again. And I survived… again. And it felt great… again.
But to be honest? I think I still would have rather been at home curled up on the couch and watching Netflix with a crochet hook in hand.
Because public speaking is still a bit scary. And crochet obsession is an understatement.