the roads I’ve travelled
here’s (the short version of)
BENNIE NAUDE’S STORY
I used to freak out about doing presentations.
I mean, really freak out, going bright red in my neck and having to make a few loo-runs before every presentation as the ‘butterflies’ in my stomach turned into tsunamis. Panic palpably rushed through my body as the clock ticked down towards show-time.
Let’s face it – so much can go wrong, right?! Overcooking a dish at home is one thing, yet doing a really bad presentation in front of others is something radically different.
There are a lot of things to consider when you present: the content, timing, remembering your lines, answering questions, and more.
I used to drive myself up the walls worrying about ‘What if…?’
- … I forget my words or look like an idiot, incompetent, or both?
- … the audience is bored, make fun of me or walk out?
- … someone asks me a question that I can’t answer?
On top of that, I also convinced myself that I …
- … had nothing of importance (or original enough) to say.
- … did not know enough and was not worth listening to.
- … simply did not have what it takes to be a good presenter (and that nothing would ever change that!)
Now, with all of that BS running around my nervous system, is it really all that surprising that I was freaking out?
it gets worse
A WHOLE LOTTA CRINGE & A SELF-FULFILLING PROPHECY
After my presentations I used to beat myself up for not doing it as perfectly as I ‘should’ have done.
This self-judgement – and in addition, the shame that came from it – pulled me down an unbearable rabbit whole of ‘cringe’ and was, of course, absolutely guaranteed to make me freak out even more next time around.
As a result, this became a fantastically powerful (if terrifyingly painful) self-fulfilling prophecy that happened to me again, and again, and again, and again … and again.
Until one day…
that might make you wonder if I was
CRAZY, STUBBORN, OR WISE?
In my mind, I truly sucked at presenting for so long that I cannot for the life of me understand why I didn’t give up on it.
Why would I (literally, almost) cr*p myself with panic, go through the terror of being ‘up there’, beat myself up afterwards … and then only repeat the whole cycle again, and again???
Fate? Craziness? Stubbornness? A deeper knowing?
I wish I could tell you that ‘I knew that I was destined’ to do this or that I had a visitation during an early morning beach mediation with the full moon dancing off the ocean waves … but there was none of that.
Somehow I just knew that I wanted to get better at it, and that I had to keep showing up – so I did.
I also knew that I would ever get better at it through practise, practise, practise.
So I did. Even when it got hard, when I could no longer focus on preparing because I got so stressed and confused, when I would prepare for weeks and weeks and only sleep a couple of hours the night before, and even when I thought I would die of the shame of having been so ‘terrible’. (I never really was THAT terrible … except maybe once … it’s just that shame skews our perspective like nothing else).
If you told me then that I’d be teaching others how to present well (and have a pretty good time doing it!), I’d have thought you (at least borderline) delusional!
LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL AND AN UPWARD SPIRAL
With time, as I kept showing up and learning from others (mainly by attending courses and observing other speakers) and implemented what I learnt in my own practice, I started feeling a bit more confident.
Initially, panic made way for … well, just a little bit less panic. Then eventually, as I kept practising and started getting good feedback, the more confident I felt.
This allowed me to be more relaxed when I presented, which in turn, allowed more of my lightness, humor and creativity to come out to play when I presented, which made my presentations more interesting and fun. Most of all, it allowed me to start valuing myself and enjoy it all a lot more, which brought even more confidence.
S-l-o-w-l-y and surely I started spiraling upwards until one night in Sydney a few years ago as I was preparing to lead a 4-day course, I realised that I was in love with the art of presenting.
That was the night that #FILWP was born; I sold the first tickets a couple of days later with nothing but the title (Fall in Love with Presenting), a lot of passion, and a deep belief that it would make a difference to people’s lives like nothing else I’d ever created, and the willingness to do whatever it takes to make it so.
And so I did, and so it was.
and fall in love with the act of presenting and get your message across effectively
easily learn how to
any presentation and learn how to cater for all learning styles
present in a way that’s
and truly connect with your audience from the minute you get up there
don’t forget to
AVOID THE BIGGEST
and be remembered as a brilliant speaker, for all the right reasons