My Speaking Nightmare – A True Story
Ever hear how you should never leave the house without making an effort to look good, because you never know who may bump into?
How about, because you never know when you may have the wrong date for a speaking engagement?
Oh, please read on, as this story gets very entertaining.
Perhaps the first hint that this presentation was not going to run smoothly was the description of my presentation, as shown below:
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Scarlett Johannsen, Image Consultant and Online Marketing Expert
Scarlett Johannsen? Are you kidding me? The attendees are being told that a famous Hollywood actress will be giving them personal and business image advice!
Once I corrected the “I am not that Scarlett issue,” I went back to working on my presentation, and made an appointment to get my hair styled, cut and colored the day before the scheduled presentation. What else could possibly go wrong?
With 24 hours to go till “ShowTime”, I left the hair salon and began driving to meet my fast talking friend, Fran Capo, for lunch in Mahopac, NY.
The organizer for my next day talk had left me a voicemail stating that if I need directions to tomorrow’s venue in Danbury Ct, just give her a ring. Of course I don’t need directions, as I have GPS. Again, what can go wrong?
As I pulled into my parking spot to meet Fran, the organizer called again, and this time I answered. She wanted to know if I was lost. It was now 12 noon.
I was beginning to shake, stutter and sweat. She wanted to know when I would get there, as my time to present was only 30 minutes away.
I asked while my mind was racing, “you mean today?” “Yes, didn’t you see the date in the announcement”? She was referring to the invite stating that Scarlett Johannsen would be speaking. All I could do was say I will drive over now, and I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, over and over again.
I ran in and out of the restaurant to tell Fran I could not stay, and contemplated driving home to pick up my computer with my slide presentation, change my pants as I was wearing jeans, and put on more makeup. There was not enough time, so while driving much faster than I should, berating myself for having made such a huge mistake, I headed to Ct. and decided to wing it. I would ask them to go to my web site to see the before and after photos of a few of my clients and I would improvise my talk. I made a 45-minute ride into a 30-minute one, and I am not proud of it. Remember I had just had my hair colored? Well, you know that bit of color that remains along the hairline, after color is applied?
So I arrived, dressed nicely although in jeans, which is not proper speaking attire, little makeup, a band of brown on my face, no visual presentation and not a single piece of paper with notes to guide myself.
After apologizing profusely to the group for my Hollywood style tardiness and for not being Scarlett Johannsen, I asked all to use their smart phones or tablets to see my photos, and I proceeded to present and answer questions from my audience.
When my presentation was over, which I must say went very well, I was slightly calmer but still extremely upset with myself. I am a professional. Looking and acting anything other than one is simply unacceptable to me. But without fear, I made my way around the room saying goodbye to the organizers, again apologizing for my tardiness. One responded to yet another one of my apologies by saying, “In your defense, the original date was tomorrow.”
I stood there nodding and confused. My heart was still not beating properly, and I was simply out of sorts. Frankly, I was a mess inside while doing my best to be polished on the outside. How could I have not changed the date on my calendar? That is totally unlike me.
I drove straight home, and all I wanted to do was throw on a bathrobe and hide under the covers of my bed. Instead as soon as I got home I opened up my computer, and I searched throughout to find the email informing me of the date change. Can you guess what I found? There was no such email to be found. I was NEVER informed of the date change. As a matter of fact, the only time the new date was sent to me was on the invite stating Scarlett Johannsen would be speaking.
Note to self:
- Confirm details with a phone call in addition to email.
- Know your material well enough so you can present anytime and anywhere.
- Don’t leave your home without being dressed in such a way that if you were to bump into that loser who once broke your heart, he or she would quickly regret their stupid mistake.
If you want to command the room when speaking and spend your time making money instead of figuring out what to wear, contact me to find out how.
“Scarlett has a true talent for pulling disparate items of clothing, shoes and accessories from your closet and turning them into amazing new outfits! She is so professional, warm and respectful. If you have fallen into the trap of wearing the same four outfits over and over again then it’s time to hire Scarlett. I feel as if I have a new business wardrobe, something I really needed!” Julie Jansen – Professional Speaker, Coach and Author
—Julie Jansen www.juliejansen.net
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