How dating advice helped me push past the fear of public speaking!
Trying something new is hard.
Leaving the safe reality that you know for an unknown future is scary as balls.
Our business rests on giving women like yourself practical advice on how to #DateDifferently.
Encouraging you to step out of your warm and fuzzy comfort zone and do something different, because that’s where the magic happens.
Here at The Social Collective we believe in leading by example, so I recently took on a challenge to practice what we preach.
You’re probably thinking this is something dating related, like trying speed kayak dating?
Sadly no, I can't kayak for peanuts, (but as a quick side note Sarah did and that’s a hilarious story for a different time).
So what could be scarier than laying yourself on the line for a stranger to judge your worthiness?
I’ll tell you what...
Laying yourself on the line for 500 strangers to judge your worthiness. Not speed dating on steroids but close...
Yup, I presented at this years Ignite Sydney!
Russy is usually the speaker in this business. I’m more logistics and strategy.
But I was challenged to spend 5 minutes in your shoes and do something completely out of my comfort zone...
I took to the stage and delivered a 5 minute talk about something I really cared about.
Click the video below and watch me go!
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As someone who’s married I can’t exactly practice our #datedifferently strategies and tips myself, but it’s amazing how a lot of our advice is actually transferable to so many other areas; public speaking included.
It’s funny, a lot of women come to The Social Collective for dating advice, wanting to take their communication and relationship skills to the next level, but they walk away with so much more.
Here are a few of the tips that we have given our clients and followers in past to help with their dating world and how I used them in the public speaking arena…
I prepared myself for the challenge Prior preparation beats persistently poor performance.
What will you talk about on your first date? What are your interests? Have you read any interesting books lately? Elevating small talk to medium talk means being a little overly prepared in the beginning.
If you want to have better dates, you need to invest in yourself first.
Translated for me preparing to speak publicly - I needed to research and invest time into adopting the persona of a speaker.
So I prepared up to wazoo! I went to any free public speaking workshop I could find.
I read the TED talk book. I signed up to webinars and mailing lists. I watched hundreds of TED talks and made notes on what I needed to do to be confident on stage.
I made the different thing my new normal
The more people you talk to, interact with and date, the easier and more relaxed it becomes.
So how did I apply this to my speech?
I wrote and rewrote and rewrote again what I would say.
I practiced in the shower, in front of the mirror and at the oval. I asked a few friends to listen and give feedback and eventually the words felt more fluid and effortless.
I leaned into the fear
You know those butterfly moments you get before a date where you just don’t want to go?
Or that networking event? Or a party where you don’t know that many people? We’ve all been there.
Anxiety in these situations is normal but feeling the fear and doing it anyway is how we build confidence.
I had moments where I thought it would be better for everyone if I just pulled out.
I hoped that I would get glandular fever or literally break a leg so I wouldn’t have to do it.
But I didn’t kiss a sick person on purpose, and I didn’t throw myself down the stairs, and the night came around faster than I would have wanted it to.
To say I was nervous would be an understatement. I was bricking it. Dry mouth, a cramp in my jaw, excessive sweating, shaky hands, overwhelming feeling of dread. I was a mess.
But I stayed in control and used the next few tips to help.
I took control of my internal state
We project what we perceive.
Having a positive view of yourself and what you bring to the table is central to our #datedifferently strategy,
so I started with a 20-minute meditation to get my head in the game. When I arrived at the venue I moved around every single square inch of the place, making it my new home.
I stood on the stage and held a power pose while I pumped up the volume on my new fave song. You might be working the room at a bar on a Friday night, but I was working this room to pump up my confidence and prepare to speak in front of 500 people.
I projected admiration and acceptance
Russy always says that people tend to mirror our energy and behaviours, which is why paying attention to your own body language and actions is an important element of dating.
I started to mingle with the other speakers until the crowd started arriving. As they came in, I made sure to smile at, chat to and hold everyone around me in high regard
I was projecting how I wanted to be treated.
And then it happened. The host called my name.
I pushed through the discomfort
I stepped up onto the stage, stared down the barrel of a bright light, tried not to focus on the 500 faces looking at me and hoped that my sweat hadn’t soaked through my dress yet.
I started my well rehearsed talk. And then, my worst nightmare happened, I forgot my lines.
I panicked and stood there, for what felt like the next 4 minutes, not saying anything. I felt like I totally botched it. All I wanted to do was start crying and run off the stage.
The next thing I knew, the crowd was cheering, the host was giving me a hug and my friends were patting me on the back.
I walked around in shock for a few hours, politely thanking people who said they enjoyed what I had to say and wondering what planet they’d been on for the last five minutes.
Have you ever felt like that when you've started a conversation with a cute guy? Like you're stuck for words and feel like you're coming across as a bumbling fool?
I can guarantee the only person who feels like that is you.
The guy you're talking to wants you to succeed, he wants to see the best in you. He has no idea what you could have said or what you wanted to say but didn't. He is probably just happy that someone is talking to him.
Something inside of me changed.
Look, we’re all friends here, so I’m not going to lie to you.
I got a little tipsy that night, it helped to calm down the adrenaline and silence that awful voice inside my head that was telling me I had failed and was not worthy.
But, it wasn’t the delicious wine or the horrible voice inside my head that changed me.
The experience had changed me.
I had a new tolerance for discomfort. I still do have a new tolerance for discomfort.
Very few things are ever going to be as bad as forgetting your lines at a public speaking event.
I’ll probably never be a professional speaker, but I’ll also never be petrified of that sort of unknown. I now know what happens when you forget your lines, and you know what...? It’s not that bad. I didn’t die.
My comfort zone has expanded from a studio apartment to a two bedroom unit.
How does this relate to you on your #datedifferently journey?
Well, you don’t have to make a 5-minute scripted speech in front of 500 people like I did, but you do have to push the boundaries a little if you want a different outcome.
It could be as simple as saying a few words to a new person. That guy that you always run into at the coffee shop, the guy you walk past every day on your way to the train station, or someone you're sharing the lift with.
Break down your barriers and expand your comfort zone.
We’re all human and it’s only a few words between strangers. I promise it won’t kill you, but it WILL make you stronger. Trust me, allowing yourself out of your comfort zone for only a minute could lead to something or someone magical.
P.S. I know dating can be hard and it can sometimes feel like its more of a mind f*ck then you actually signed up for.
If this is how you feel right now, the have a quick read of Russy's Dating Detox Guide.
It might help get your head in the game. Download it here.