Once upon a time there was a presenter called Jayne who was asked to front an awards ceremony for a non-profit philanthropic organisation. Because it was during the annoying time of the Covid, it had to be broadcast on the Internet. It was a small budget, small fee event and the very nice clients had never produced anything like it before so Jayne knew it was going to be exciting.
It was a really busy week for Jayne but she still made lots of time for preparation, sometimes late in the evening or early in the morning. She wanted to feel really in control in case anything went a little bit wrong.
The big day arrived. Everyone was very stressed because it was a complicated show. There were 16 awards and each winner was going to say thank you in a little speech (live or in a pre-recorded video); there were loads of speakers and a panel discussion and some very important guests (from governments and big businesses). And everybody was in a different country. In fact, the lady producing the show was at the other side of the world so she was going to tell Jayne what to do on WhatsApp on the telephone, even while the show was live. This was very unusual and a little bit scary.
And so the big moment arrived. Jayne spoke into the camera to welcome everyone to the ceremony and hand over to the first speaker.
Unfortunately, the speaker wasn’t there so Jayne had to carry on talking for a bit. Then she tried to hand over to another speaker who, rather frustratingly, wasn’t there either. Poor Jayne, having to ad lib again. Fortunately, there was a video to show so Jayne could stop talking. But the video didn’t play properly so they had to stop it and go back to Jayne for some more talking.
And so, the show went on for a really long time, or maybe it just felt like that. Other guests didn’t appear; some vanished in the middle of their talks; people’s mouths were often moving but no sound was coming out or they sounded like aliens from another planet. Many of the videos seemed a bit broken. Naughty internet.
And every time there was a little problem, Jayne had to do more talking. Luckily for her, she’d read a lot of things about the show and the organisation and all the different people who were going to be there so she was able to talk about that rather than telling the viewers about her cat.
And so finally the programme finished and Jayne poured herself a lovely big glass of gin. She was very tired indeed but also very glad that she’d made time for all that prep.
Because what Jayne’s learned from doing this job for a very long time indeed, and what she rather bossily tells her training clients over and over again is that preparation is the key to success. It’s the biggest building block of confidence and IT’S FOR YOU!
So if we just do that we’ll also be able to talk out loud for as long as we need to, and we’ll all live happily ever after.