By: Ellen Egan
Ok, its kind of a funny title. At the time it was a bit of a public speaking nightmare. But, after a bit of time has passed, its now a funny story.
The first time I was scheduled for a public speaking event where I had to speak in French, I took a lot of time to be sure all my preparations were in place. If you have read any of my articles or previous blogs, you know that one of my main tips for public speaking is to be sure you are prepared. Know your topic, know your audience, know your venue and prepare your materials. These are all essential techniques to ensure success in any public speaking situation.
I love public speaking, but this time I had a serious fear of public speaking in French. So, I took extra time with everything. I even made sure to take my materials in my hand luggage to be sure that they didn’t get lost en route (from Geneva, Switzerland to Lome, Togo). The thing that did get lost en route was my luggage. So, I arrived in Africa for a week of presentations, with only black pants and a little blue sweater for clothing.
I discovered several things on this trip.
1. The women in Togo are, in general, taller than I am.
2. It is possible for an airline to lose your luggage for 8 weeks.
3. Presenting in a language other than your mother-tongue is not as scary as it might seem at first.
4. Most importantly, (and this is true for all public speakingsituations) the people in your audience are generally really nice people who want to see you succeed. And, they will cut you a lot of slack, no matter what the situation – even if your grammar is not perfect and you wear the same outfit 5 days in a row.
No matter what the public speaking situation, your audience usually wants to see you succeed and they will forgive the faults that you may perceive as huge. Most difficult situations can become funny stories with the passage of time.
To your success,
PS. When travelling, try to remember to bring a little sewing kit in case all your clothes are lost and you need to shorten everything you buy so that you can wear it.