Monday was the first meeting of the new Professional Speakers Association of Southern Africa year, and my first as President of the Cape Chapter.
After years of volunteer leadership through Toastmasters International you’d think I’d be immune to the anxiety of leading a new team through our first event, but somehow that anxiety never goes away. I think it’s something to do with me wanting to ensure that all the attendees gain value from the event.
Of course, I should have known there was no need for me to feel nervous. On the one hand I couldn’t have asked for a more motivated, efficient and willing team, and on the other hand, the interactions I’d had with the main keynote presenter left me in no doubt that he would offer immense value.
And so it was – everyone on the team went over and above the call of duty to ensure the event ran smoothly and I firmly believe every attendee left with real techniques of how to focus their marketing to grow their brand.
Sincere thanks to Lt. Col. Rob “Waldo” Waldman for demonstrating some simple yet effective techniques to use on our websites and marketing materials, to our MC Bradley Day, and to our 5-minute speaker Chris Adlam for the value they offered our members and attendees. And to the PSASA Cape Chapter team – Hani du Toit, Ian Hatton, Sisanda Dlakavu and Chris Adlam – for all their hard work in preparation for the meeting.
And, of course, Fiji was more than happy to walk me up to the speaking area and back to my seat like the great guide dog she is… though I suspect the treats I promised her also helped. I was amused when she flatly refused to find the door out of the room so we could go to the main entrance to let in a latecomer, But after an attendee graciously helped me through the doorway, Fiji’s fine training clicked back into place and she assisted me perfectly I guess she was just reluctant to miss any of what Waldo was sharing with us!
Do I think Monday will mean I won’t be anxious for future meetings? Probably not entirely. But I will have the confidence of having had a successful inaugural event, and the certainty that I have an amazing team working with me.
Oh, and many thanks to Charlotte Kemp for presenting me with a bottle of wine on behalf of the Past Chapter Presidents to wish me a successful year at the helm of the Cape Chapter – the gesture was very much appreciated!
Tomorrow I’ll be trying something new as a facilitator. In fact, I’ll be trying several new things in a training session for Toastmasters leaders in Cape Town. Not only will I be co-presenting a session for the first time, but I’ll also be incorporating video into the session… and trying to transition between the three different elements of the presentation.
As you can no doubt imagine, as a blind person I’m pretty anxious about how the visual aspects are all going to fit together.
The way I’m handling the anxiety is by preparing as much as I can ahead of time. I sent the presentation and video link to both my co-presenter and the event organiser several days ago, and met with my co-presenter to talk about how we’re going to run the session. I’m preparing myself for the Q&A session by reviewing all available material so I can effectively handle any questions that the audience ask.
Yes, all this preparation is time-consuming but, far more importantly, I think that it’s the best way for me to ensure the attendees gain as much value as they can from the session – and that’s by far the most important thing to me!
*** please note for members of my Lois Strachan news mailing list, this workshop will be R400 – a discount of R100 (you subscribe from the website).