Public speaking is something that defiantly gets better over time. Before working for Steiner I hadn’t done any and was shocked at how much I was expected to do.
I specialised in a treatment called Ionithermine which is an inch loss treatment. This treatment is only offered on board ship’s so, the best way to promote this was through doing seminars. These would sometimes be to 5 people or sometimes to 50.
The first seminar I held was just 3 days into my contract. It had been mentioned at the training academy but since I had been on board no one had said anything about seminars.
In the morning I came to work, checked my booking column. I had a few treatments in along with 1 hour that had been booked out of my day at 2 pm. I didn’t know what it was for, I just assumed it would be a training session as the first few weeks on board are full of training.
It wants until 20 minutes before I asked my manager what the hour was for, and she looked at me quizzically and said: “for your seminar”. I literally felt immediately sick. I went into a panic and ran to one of the spa girls asking “what do I do, what do I need, where is it”? She said “calm down”, and took me to the ballroom where I would be giving my seminar.
I was left to set up a whiteboard and a display table. I then started racking my brain for any information about the treatment. The ridiculous thing was I knew everything there was to know, but the nerves took over and any information that was relevant had hidden in the corners of my head.
I prayed that no one would turn up as it was a port day so a lot of people had gotten off the ship. However the closer it got to 2 pm I noticed people started to filter in. My heart was beating out of my chest, my palms were sweaty, I could feel that I had gone bright red and I hadn’t even started talking yet.
By 2 pm about 9 people had sat themselves down in hopes they were about to receive some life-changeing information from the quivering wreck in the corner.
At 5 past two, I thought I have to start this, there is literally no getting out of this. I was praying for a fire alarm or something to get me out of it but, I was not saved by the bell.
I started by welcoming them, and asking them about there holiday and what they had planned, hoping that one of them would go on a tangent and the time would be filled with discussing their holiday plans but, I don’t think I have ever, been given such short answers.
Hows your cruise? Good,
What have you got planned? Swimming
I mean, talk about a tough crowd.
To make it worse I could sense these women were experienced cruisers which meant they had probably been to seminars like this before.
I began to talk about the treatment and its history but kept slipping up and having to stop mid-sentence to remember to breath. The lack of oxygen caused me to then start breathing rapidly which made my eyes water. To prevent anyone from thinking I was crying I held the piece of paper I was clinging on to for dear life, directly in front of my face. I had been holding onto this paper so tightly that it now looked like I had fished it out of the bin because it was so crinkled.
As my eyes dried up I lowered my rumpled up safety net and took a glance at the woman who had now gone from 9 to 6. The red-head at the very front stopped me and said: “are you ok?”
I didn’t know what to respond with. I was quite clearly not and felt like I was on the verge of a breakdown, but didn’t want to say that to this group of woman. However by this point I didn’t think I needed to say anything. So, I sat down and asked the woman to create a circle.
That one woman showing me a bit of humility made me realise we are all human and I need to relax or I might die from lack of oxygen.
I took a deep breath and apologised. They all looked very concerned but I re-asured them that I just wasn’t great with public speaking so maybe we could try just having a discussion.
I stopped shaking and my breathing became more regular after a while and I actually may have conveyed some interesting information.
None of them booked in for the treatment which is the aim of doing a seminar but, for my first one, at least I didn’t vomit. I did about 20 minutes after though. All the emotion had sent my body into a spin.
Re-living this makes me realise how far I’ve come. From shaking like a leaf in front of 8 people, I am now able to speak in front of at least 50 without getting anywhere near that nervous. Practice makes perfect, or at least a lot better.