I have just finished my time on the lecture circuit. As both of you may remember, last February I spoke to S's 2nd-grade class for career day. It was a resounding success and I'm sure I unleashed dozens of little freelance writers on the world, clad comfortably in robes, slippers and porkpies.
Today, I had the pleasure of speaking at the annual luncheon of the parent teacher organization for St. George's Independent School (people paid $25 a piece just to listen to me! ... and for lunch). I still don't know why I agreed to it. The vice president of the association sent me an e-mail back in February asking if I'd be interested in being the guest speaker. Public speaking is a phobia of mine, but I didn't immediately turn down the offer. Instead, I slept on it, and when I woke up the following morning I wrote 1,000 words to start off a possible speech. That part seemed easy, so I replied and accepted the offer.
I didn't look at what I'd written, or really give the luncheon much thought, until last week when I picked up that draft from more than two months before and read it out loud. Vice President Walker asked that I speak for 25 minutes, yet my hand-written speech came in at a cool 4:55. I would need to write four times what I'd already written.
I sat down and doubled what I had and it was still coming in short, at about 10 minutes, but I was happy with it. I kept reading it and tweaking it, let a couple of others read it, and we all decided it was a good speech.
So today I delivered it. I stood up in front of a room full of strangers out at TPC Southwind and delivered a speech that had them laughing aloud from the get go. It went much better than I'd hoped and everyone seemed very appreciative.
One of the reasons I agreed to do this was because the thought of doing it terrified me. I don't think I'll be scaling the side of a building any time soon, or letting spiders crawl over me, but I'm happy with myself that I could get past this and that it could turn out so well. I was confident in the material, I just wasn't confident in myself.
So thank you to St. George's and the parents who make up their PTA for a great afternoon and a little boost of confidence.