I’m curious by nature and I’m always looking for new ways to meet interesting people. This year I’m a mentee at the mentoring program of the professional Women’s Network of Vienna. I’d recommend it to everybody (not only women) who is willing to achieve professional and/or personal goals. I’ll write a post about my experience later.
Participating in this program has given me the opportunity to meet amazing people who want to grow and self develop (a topic that I love and practice on a daily basis). J is one of them. She decided to organize a get together in January, where some of the mentees shared their experiences about the program, gave each other tips, recommended books and drank coffee. J and I connected immediately. We started talking on how to give something back to the people who organize the program and to all participants, since we are both very grateful about how much we are learning (the program is free, mentors are volunteers), and she told me about some “karaoke sessions” (powerpoint presentations) that are organized in Vienna for people who are afraid of speaking in public. I really loved the concept and we started to think about how to adapt it to our needs. The idea we came up with consists of stepping up to a stage and talk in front of a respectful and supportive audience (mainly other mentees and mentors) who will give constructive feedback to improve the way we communicate. We agreed to meet again to further develop the idea and add an important element when it comes to keep your nerves under control: improvisation.
To add more fuel to the fire, we decided to provide the presentations to the speakers on the stage. That means, they have no time to prepare! They will see each slide at the same time as the audience does.
The event takes place today. We have collected several presentations about different topics, from food to technology, which will be assigned randomly to the presenters.
When we posted the event on social media or talked about it in some of our meetings, the response was always the same: -omg! I really like the idea, I get so nervous when I have to speak in public! –
It turns out, Glossophobia or speech anxiety is listed as American’s number one fear. Even before death! See: http://westsidetoastmasters.com/resources/off_the_cuff/chap1.html.
People have signed up for the event for two main reasons: first, because they like challenges, and second (but not less important), because we have removed judgement from the equation. Only constructive feedback is allowed and we will all be in the same situation, that is, on the stage, which means, everybody will empathize with the presenter.
I’m looking forward to this evening!