You may have noticed by now that I’ve been posting on a daily basis for this thing called the WordPress.com Bloganuary Challenge 2022. It’s designed to help bloggers get back into the groove of consistently blogging by giving us a writing prompt each day. Today’s prompt is to write about the last time I left my comfort zone.
After some reflection, I’d have to say that was when I was a panelist on a live, virtual summit back in May of 2021. I posted about it back then, and you can watch the video there if you’d like.
I was extremely nervous about this event. I was going to be answering questions – live – in front of lots of people. You would think that since my side gig is being a wedding officiant, where I stand up in front of a crowd to marry couples, I wouldn’t be so nervous to do the virtual event. But there’s a world of difference between writing and then reading a script for a wedding, and answering questions.
I got through it though, and I’ll share what helped me tackle this challenge.
The moderator made sure to let us panelists know what questions would be asked, so in some ways, it’s similar to a wedding script. However, the live audience would be allowed to ask questions as well, and those would require quick thinking, fingers crossed that I wouldn’t just draw a blank or say something really stupid.
So the first thing I did was prepare answers to the questions I knew would be asked. I studied my answers over and over again until I was fairly sure I would remember them, but I also kept them in written form in my view, so I could quickly refer to them if I did go blank.
The next thing I did was try to anticipate questions that the audience might ask. Some of those might be questions related to the ones we’d just answered, and some might be unrelated. I wrote down all the questions I could think of and made quick notes of important points to mention about each. I kept those handy as well.
Confidence to Roll With It
Here’s where I definitely drew on my experience as a Wedding Officiant. Sure, a wedding is scripted in advance, but generally speaking, something almost always goes wrong. Maybe the bride or groom trips over their feet, or maybe they trip over their words. Perhaps one chokes up and freezes, or cries uncontrollably. Maybe the flower girl or ring bearer causes a major fuss. A million things can happen at a wedding, but my job is to make sure we roll with it and get everything back on track, without upsetting the couple too much. I’ve gotten very good at that over the years. I always assure the couple that I’ve got things under control during the ceremony, and I make darn sure that’s the truth.
So before I put on my headset the day of the summit, I told myself that no matter what happened I would just roll with it. If I tripped over my words or just went blank, I would take a deep breath, laugh it off if that was appropriate, and carry on. Basically, I treated myself as both the officiant and the bride. I would take control of anything that went wrong, and I would remain calm knowing that I had my own back.
Finally, I put my trust in the moderator and panelist that I was presenting with. I trusted that they would also have my back and would help me make it through any rough spots. Being able to let go a little and know that I wasn’t alone gave me the extra shot of confidence I needed.
If you ever find yourself in a similar position, you’ll probably have your own ways of handling the nervousness. But if you happen to remember this post during that time, maybe my three tips will help you as well.
- Roll With It.