How to speak in front of 1200 people

How to speak in front of 1200 people

Last September, Chandler and I went to PechaKucha in Vancouver, which is held every month at the iconic Vogue Theatre. It’s a global event where 12 speakers are asked to share 20 slides but only have 20 seconds per slide to get their idea across. I was so impressed with all of the presenters and thought about how surreal and amazing it would be to be on that stage in the future.

Since the Universe pays attention to our thoughts and dreams, I was asked to speak at PechaKucha in November. I was beyond excited, but quickly realized I was unfortunately in Edmonton for Make It. They told me that they would love to have me speak on January 30th instead. Having the date solidified excited and terrified me because I knew I was meant to be and now I had to perform.

The Vogue fits 1200 people and PechaKucha is always a sellout. A month before I had to speak I was an anxious mess anytime I thought about being on that stage in front of 2400 eyeballs! What if I fell walking up to the stage, or stumbled on my words, or completely forgot what I was going to say??? I felt like there was no way I was going to be able to do it, and that I somehow had to get out of it. But, then the more rational side of my brain chimed in, and reminded me that this was going to be an amazing opportunity and I was so fortunate to be able to share my ideas and inspirations with such a large audience. Plus it was something I had been dreaming about doing.

When I was creating my slides for PechaKucha my anxiety was at an all time high. My heart was racing and my stomach was in knots as I selected the photos that I would be sharing. No matter how many times I reminded myself that this was something I actually wanted to do, I still had a very hard time controlling my fear.

Last week, I knew that there was no tuning back and I had to figure out a way to get through my nervousness. I decided that I was going to focus on excitement and how awesome being on that stage spreading my message. Instead of thinking how scary it was going to be, I instead felt in my body how amazing it was going to feel.

It took a little while to convince myself, but after I started to believe and the nervousness and anxiety started to disappear. I also decided the only thing I could do was trust. Trust myself that I was going to do an amazing job, trust the audience that they were there to support me, and trust the Universe that I was meant to do this.

The day of PechaKucha I tried as much as possible to stay calm and relaxed. As soon as my mind started to wonder into a negative state, I firmly changed my focus to the positive. It was like my brain was a puppy that I was trying to teach to behave! I rehearsed as much as I could so my brain had less the chatter about. Plus I bought a really cute dress to wear that I felt powerful and beautiful in.

I was the 5th speaker of the night and right before my name was called I felt a lot of buzzing and excitement, but not the fear and doubt that plagued me before. I was also lucky to have a bunch of my friends come to cheer me on too (my woo girls!). As I walked onto the stage I kept on repeating the word trust, trust, trust.

The whole 6 minute and 40 seconds that I was on that stage were like a blur. It oddly felt like it went really quickly. The audience was pretty dark because of the bright lights, but I still could make out a few hundred bobbing heads. Such a crazy thing to see! I was totally in the moment and felt the energy of the 1200 people looking at me and listening to what I had to say. I knew I was super energetic and gave it everything I had. As I finished up, I felt so alive and started to have fun with the audience.

As I walked off the stage and heard the audience applause, I was overwhelmed with gratitude. I did it! I did it! All that fear, doubt and anxiety for nothing. It was so much easier than I thought and way more enjoyable too. After so many friends and people I know came up to me and said they inspired by what I had to say and enjoyed my sparkly energy and enthusiasm.

You are probably wondering what the heck I spoke about. Instead of telling you, I will show you as soon as the video is on YouTube. I will probably have a hard time watching it myself, but I hope you will find it interesting!

If I can speak on stage at the Vogue in front of 1200 people, you defiantly can too. All you have to do is train your rambunctious puppy brain to focus on the positive and remind yourself how awesome the experience is going to be. Being asked to speak is a honour and you need to remember that people are there because they value what you have to say. How cool is that?!

Thanks for reading and I would love for you to share your comments below :)

Sparkly love,

Jenna