April 20, 2021
It is true. Yes, I get nervous too. Fortunately, it does not happen every time when I have an event. Nor when it does occur, is it usually severe; however, on occasion, I get nervous before facilitating. Today was one of those days.
On the surface, there was no reason to be nervous today. I was scheduled to deliver a workshop on project management, a topic I am quite familiar with, so why the nerves? IAP2 Canada offers Taster Series workshops free to its members and today my workshop was one of those. IAP2 is the International Association of Public Practitioners of which I am also a member. I am scheduled to deliver a 3-hour course in May on Project Management for Public Practitioners. Today’s session was to give a teaser or taste of what the full course will be and entice people to register. Almost 60 people had registered across North America as of the practice run-through last week. A couple of hours before the session I learned 8 people from Southern Africa region had just registered!
The combination of a new client, a new audience, and a new interpretation of my project management content combined to heighten my nerves today. People are often surprised when I share with them that at times I get nervous when facilitating or presenting. It takes me awhile to convince them it is true.
Nervous Energy is…Energy
Certified as a Master Trainer 15 years ago, my instructor told me if you are nervous, it means you still care. I agree with that to a point. I do not believe the reverse is true, that is, if you are not nervous you do not care. While under most circumstances I am not nervous, I do still deeply care about my clients, participants, and yes, my reputation. Each time I put myself out there I am representing me, my values, my business, my brand. I care my clients achieve their desired outcome, and that my participants have a good experience. I care that I am perceived as professional and capable.
When coaching others on public speaking or facilitating I always remind them that nervous energy is just that…energy. I used some of that excess energy by going for a short walk before my session. I read a mindless novel for 20 minutes. My Spotify playlist was the Top Hits of 1984. I channeled the rest of my energy in to the session. As expected, once it started my nerves settled. A huge thank you to Amelia and Drew at IAP2 Canada for supporting me emotionally and technologically throughout the event. Also, huge thanks to the IAP2 training committee for taking a chance on me as a new trainer with a new topic. We ended up with 70 people attending today from all parts of Canada, United States and Southern Africa. Let’s hope the Taster entices enough of them to register for the full course in May! ~ Carole