Saturday, February 13, 2010

Awards and fear

Last weekend, I drove up to Oklahoma City for our NATRC Regional Convention. I was only able to get away long enough to go to the awards dinner, then drive back home that night. So much time away last year, and I just could not bring myself to ask the neighbor to come by to take care of the animals for the weekend. Our Region has some wonderful year end awards that are not just the class placings, but breed awards, special recognition awards etc. The points are only from rides within our own region,and do not include any that riders might have earned riding in other areas of the country. Hank won his horse class, and I won my horsemanship class. Then we won so many other things, I was feeling embarassed going up again and again as they were calling my name. I asked James Keene, who has also won the Presidents Cup with his wonderful Foxtrotter mare in the past, if he felt that same bit of embarasmant they year he won so many awards, and he said yes. I know we should not be embarrased by doing well, as we worked hard, and earned the awards. But it was still so odd for me to keep going up and getting all the beautiful trophies etc.

The last award the Region presented me with, was an awesome embrodiered jacket, with the NATRC log on it, and our names on the front. I KNOW I will wear this jacket a bunch!


Next weekend is our national Convention in Reno NV.  Over the past ride season, I thought about this convention many times. Wondering if all our hard work would find us there receiving the Presidents Cup.  But part of the receiving of this award, means the winner is to give a bit of a speech. Here is where my FEAR comes in. I am terrified of public speaking. Did you know that according to studies, public speaking is a bigger fear than death. Fear of public speaking is reported to be the number one fear of American adults . Growing up, through High School etc., I never had to give a speech, and even managed to avoid reading out loud in class. I am OK with talking to small groups of people, and even speaking up (often out of order...bad habit), but to stand up in front of a gathering, and speak, and on a microphone is something I do not look forward to at all. Even during the year when competing, knowing I'd have to do this, if I won, made me question if it was really worth it. At the regional convention, I was asked to say a few words, and I panicked. I could barely squeak out "thank you" without taking the microphone in hand. I tried to get hooked up with some Toast-masters groups, but by the time I looked in to them, they were in parts of town too far away, or only met once a month, and I just could not get it worked out.  I have the speech written, worked over, and fine tuned. I have read it to my husband, but still, the thought of doing so at the convention is stressing me. I joked I'd like them to have a big screen, hooked up to a keyboard, and I would just type it, and folks could read along on their own.  I know I will survive it, no one will laugh at me, hopefully with me if needed, and that people speak to audiences all the time, but that is not making my fears subside.  And don't tell me to picture anyone naked. That's not working for me. I hope I can manage to stand there looking down and just reading my script I have written. if I can manage THAT I will be thrilled. To memorize it, and look at the audience? (snicker) Not looking good.


Tracey said...

NO FEAR JONNI! You can do it. I promise it gets easier! A middle school speech teacher once told us to "imagine the audience was all in their underwear"...and silly as it sounds it used to help me! Of course in my line of work I am constantly teaching and doing group speaking but all the way through college it was NEVER easy for me...but you can do've done so much so enjoy your day in the sun...YOU EARNED IT!

Danielle said...

Congratulations on all the beautiful new loot :)

I'm sure you'll do fine with your speech. I'm not a great public speaker, but thankfully my 4th grade teacher made me take a public speaking class (instead of some fun elective I had signed up for) and it has helped me since then.

Be proud of what you accomplished with Hank last season - it's an amazing feat and you should share your story with everyone like you do with us.

I'm rootin' for you!

AareneX said...

Hey Jonni,
I've taught a lot of people to talk and tell stories in front of an audience, and you're right: imagining the audience naked or in their underwear doesn't work for everyone.

Here's something that does work: practice your speech in front of two or three friendly people. Family members are good for this. You don't want them to critique your speech--just listen and be friendly. When that seems comfortable, find 5 or 6 friendly people. When that is easier, practice it in front of 10 or 12 friendly people (it's okay to buy them all a beer first). If you can find a group of 20 friendly people, practice it in front of them. If you can't, try to imagine practicing the speech in front of 20 friendly people--after you've already practiced it in front of 10 people. By gradually ramping up the size of the crowd, you can decrease your anxiety, and you will get lots of practice with your speech. Try to place people in the imaginary audience who will be present for the real thing.

Let us know how it goes!

warped_princess said...

We can't wait to see you Friday!

Tammy said...

Good to see your post. And congrats on your accomplishments. You had a very special year. Enjoy the rewards!

Public speaking. Yeah, really gets me. My boss is the best, most polished speaker & has helped me. Its getting better. What you should find reassuring is you are speaking about what you know, what you did. That makes it easier. YOu aren't teaching or lecturing, but speaking from your heart. Doesn't matter what is on your cheat cards, if you fumble, speak from your heart. Good luck!

Tammy in TX said...

You will do great Jonni! I have faith in you.