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Nothing wrong with being second!

Well I did a “first” this week – if you read my previous blog you'll know that I was preparing (and panicking) as I was doing a wee presentation at a local business network gathering.

So I did it but I'm sad to say that it was just as bad as I imagined it would be. I'm really not made for public speaking. On a one to one basis I'm great - I've spent many a teenage year working in shops, I regularly exhibit at vintage fairs (in my other life as a furniture upcycler) and also work a couple of times a month at a Social Enterprise store in Edinburgh so I'm not adverse to speaking to the public at all (in fact I love it) but put a group of strangers in front of me and I just crumble (or at least I do on the inside). As tempted as I was to sit down after 10 seconds standing I did plough through it and was told that I didn't come across as nervous (I must have hid it well!)

However on my drive home, I thought about all the instances where fear had got me at public speaking. First time I was about 10 – had to read “To a Mouse” on Burns Day. I had memorised it but one verse in I lost my train of thought and that was it, ran back to my seat and sat down. Fast forward to Secondary school and drama class – the first time I had rehearsal for a play I was told by the drama teacher that I would be much better suited for a behind the scenes role. Then to my main working life – I wasn't comfortable in the main role – having to present to clients and attending networking functions, much preferring to be second in command. And finally I sat on the Children's Panel which I really enjoyed but after a year of doing it, I had to go through a leadership course which meant that I would have to chair the meetings and instead of telling them how uncomfortable that made me feel, I just made up an excuse that I was too busy at work and handed in my notice.

I'm sure there were other instances, but those sprung (far too) quickly to mind!

So I decided that I needed to do something about it as I couldn't let that dictate my life. I'm in my mid 40s – I shouldn't still be panicking about standing up and speaking to a group of people, should I????

It's been a busy week though so haven't had much chance until today to think on it some more and I've realised something – we can't do everything!! Yes I'm bad at public speaking and I'm much better at a back office supporting role but isn't that what I've set myself up to do as a Business Support Administrator?

At drama class I was awful at acting but I stuck with the class and loved being involved in the lighting rigs and stage management (and you need that in order for the play to go ahead). In my working life I wasn't great at networking and meetings but I ensured the company had all the structure in place by the way of finance, certification and operating systems (which again are important to allow the company to run). And if I had been honest to the Children's Panel then I may still have been involved in a volunteer role that I enjoyed and added value to.

So instead of going to see about getting some help for my poor public speaking I'm going to be happy with the fact that I'm great on a one to one basis and I can help a business grow with all the operations and back office tasks that I can do which is what I've set up to do.


To anyone reading this I guess what I'm trying to say is that we should embrace what we are good at and not expect to be comfortable with everything. The world needs leaders and entrepreneurs but it also needs supporting staff and you know what I love being in a support role!

Oh and for anyone wondering what the picture on this blog is about, it was my plan to hold up this doppleganger of me and stand behind it whilst giving the presentation but thankfully changed my mind!

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Flatnadreich Steading, nr Edzell, Brechin DD9 7XU

Tel: 07496 454449

mhairi@prestonprofessionalservices.co.uk

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