Out of my comfort zone

They say that once in a while you should do something that’s a little bit crazy and a little bit scary … so I’ve gone ahead and booked myself into a big, big event… and now I’m wondering why the hell I decided to throw myself into the biggest challenge of my career.

I’ve signed up to do a 45-minute speech in front of an audience of around 150 people at a well known and well-respected expo in London early next year. The speech is on Change Management and Lessons Learned, which might sound fairly dull but the reality is that it will be both motivating and uplifting.

The story behind this starts a few months ago when (and I won’t bore you with the details) I decided that one of my life goals over the course of the next couple of years was to earn some money through public speaking.

Now I’m not a complete novice at talking – in a former life I was a radio and TV journalist and I am also a member of Toastmasters International, so I know how to string a sentence or two together in public, but this is a whole new level for me.

I don’t know how many people watch Celebrity Masterchef here in the UK, but as part of the second round they have a “mass catering” challenge – where they looked shocked to learn that they’re cooking for 120 people as they’ve rarely, if ever, cooked for 12 people before.

This challenge is a bit like this. I’ve spoken in front of 30 – 40 people face to face (and a few thousand or tens of thousands on the radio) but this is a whole new ball game. These are people who have paid to attend and they have chosen (for whatever reason) to come and listen to little ol’ me. This is far more professional than I’ve ever needed to do before and now I’m questioning why I am putting myself through this.

I’ve got just under six months to start preparing a 45-minute speech, get props, lose a couple of stone, buy a nice flashy suit ….

I’m hoping that I will see some readers of my blog in February at London’s Olympia … that’s assuming I have a speech written by then!