How overcoming my nerves is helping me grow my business
By Club Member Marie Wright
After setting up my own coaching business, I soon realised that to gain credibility and to get myself known, it would be a good idea to do some public speaking. There was one problem with this, I had to overcome my nerves. I had never before in my life had to give any speeches in public and I was absolutely terrified at the thought. Apparently, most people list public speaking as their number one fear in life – above the fear of death. And I could understand why.
Discovering Tunbridge Wells Speakers
As I love learning, and had recently moved to Tunbridge Wells, I decided to check out the Tunbridge Wells Speakers Club, which is affiliated to Toastmaster International. To be completely honest, I had an image in my mind of what it would be like. I had a preconceived idea that it would be weird people and be a bit stale and dull. However, my desire to learn a new skill and banish my nerves, would be valuable to me in my work, and not wanting to be close-minded, I decided to try it.
I could not have been more wrong. I received such a friendly welcome. The club was thriving with a full of a huge variety of interesting, kind and friendly people of all ages, and from all walks of life. There was an energy in the room that gave me a buzz. I was completely blown away by the courage of everyone standing up in front of a room full of people and doing their best to learn and grow. I was totally hooked.
Taking that first step
It took me several meetings to be able to even utter one word in front of everyone. When I did so, I was shaking all over and felt completely terrified, despite everyone being so kind, friendly and encouraging. However, I challenged myself and eventually started taking on small roles, and finally managed to pluck up the courage to do my first speech, which, to my surprise, I loved.
Learning from others
I have learnt so much since that first meeting. Not only how to improve my own speaking, but also life lessons from hearing other members’ speeches. Looking back over the past 18 months, I realise that there are so many other skills I have learnt too, such as better listening, leadership and teamwork as well as gaining greater confidence and ways to manage the nerves.
One of the things that works so well, is that there is a good combination of experience within the club. Members range from people like me, who have had no speaking experience whatsoever, through to members who are highly competent and speak with years of experience and training, some of them even being actors. This variety of competency ensures that everyone can benefit from joining the club, no matter what level you are at. There is always room to improve, learn and grow, and you help other people to do so simultaneously.
Build your skills at your own pace
There are many opportunities to become more involved if you want to. I have enjoyed several external speaking competitions where I have had the opportunity to hear the best of the best speaking. In addition, I have grown in my own understanding of what makes a good speech and speaker.
The benefit to my business
The benefit of this to my business has been enormous. I now give presentations and speeches on a regular basis. Although I do still feel nervous, I actually enjoy the experience and now feel confident in my ability – even though I know I have a lot more to learn and have plenty more potential to improve.
Recently, I was asked by a company that I coach for, to do a few workshops for their senior management team. I know for sure that if I hadn’t joined the club, I wouldn’t have had the confidence, skills or ability to say yes. I ran my second workshop last week, and it was a huge success and as a result, I have taken another booking for a different workshop with another company. I am excited that I am now able to grow this new avenue within my business.
One of the added benefits of joining the Tunbridge Wells Speakers Club is that it has been a great networking opportunity. This hadn’t occurred to me when I joined. It has provided me with a number of referrals for new clients, which has been an added bonus.
One of the best decisions
Joining the Tunbridge Wells Speakers Club was one of the best decisions I have made. I love the people, the structure, the atmosphere, the learning, and because it finishes at 9.30 pm, I can be home and tucked up in bed at a reasonable hour, ready for the next day’s work.