Over the last few years I have hosted and presented my fair share of events.
When I think back to my very first attempt, when I was asked to present the communications strategy for the Peterlee Business Park Group at our launch event back in 2014, I remember the nerves only too well.
I’d never done anything like that before and standing up in front of a room packed full of people was incredibly daunting.
However, when I launched the business I told myself that I would take on any opportunity that came my way, if it helped raise the profile of the business, and if that meant I’d have to overcome nerves along the way, so be it.
I can still feel how apprehensive I was – would I be able to speak clearly, would people engage with me, would I enjoy it. The answer to all three was yes, although by my own admission it took a couple of minutes to get into my stride.
Since then I have presented at networking sessions, hosted workshops, delivered seminars and compared themed events, including one with Sunderland legend Kevin Ball which was attended by around 100 people.
The more I’ve done, the better I’ve got at it, and now there’s very little that I’m phased by.
That is, until I was asked to host a Cancer Research UK Race for Life event in Durham.
On a stage. With a script. And worst of all, with a microphone.
Again, not one to refuse a challenge (and as it was my cousin who asked me) I agreed and thought, I can do this.
I fully expected it to be nerve wracking, however nothing prepared for me for how terrifying it would be. Standing in front of the 1,000-plus participants was actually okay – it was the script and mic I struggled with.
My approach to presenting is off the cuff – never scripted so I talk from experience and draw in the audience.
For me, this was very different and whilst I don’t think it’s something I would rush to do again, I’m also incredibly proud of myself that I got up there and did it.
It also made me realise just what a skill it is – although I’m sure as with most things, practice makes perfect!