How Do I Want To Feel?

Microphone on lectern

I mentioned in a recent post that I’m giving a keynote at a conference. It’s my first keynote, it’s a week from today, and I’ve been doing a lot to prepare for it. I outlined my talk, keeping in mind what I hope the audience will get out of it. I ran the outline by the people who invited me to speak to make sure it’s what they want me to talk about. I picked appropriate pictures for my slides because I hate just having a bunch of text on them.  I built the slides and wrote notes for each one in case I need to refer to them. I revised my slides, I reordered them, I changed the notes on them, always saving the file on both a USB stick and in the cloud. I’ve practiced my presentation a few times in an empty room at work, a few times in my bedroom, and even a bit in the shower. I bought a new outfit to wear. This morning I did a practice run of my talk in front of colleagues who I trust to be kind, but honest with me and the feedback was positive. I will practice it a few more times just for piece of mind, but for the most part, I’m ready.

There’s only one more thing that I need to do, besides catching a plane to Vancouver next Tuesday. I have to think about how I want to feel giving that talk and when it’s done. 

I’ve been in the room where I’m giving the keynote, but only as an audience member. Still, as I’ve practiced, I’ve been able to visualize how things will likely look when I’m speaking. Athletes, presenters, even students going to take a test, are often advised to visualize what success will look like to them.  Is it winning the race or scoring a personal best? Is it getting an A on the test or just passing?

So I’ve visualized the audience paying attention to what I’m saying and nodding at appropriate times, instead of nodding off. I’ve pictured them asking good questions at the end. I’ve even pictured them applauding. I’ve been doing the visualization thing, but that’s how I want them to respond to me. The feeling part of this is also important. 

I want to feel confident, with some humbleness mixed in. I want my passion for the topic to come through so I need to feel passionate about it that morning. I want to feel grateful for the opportunity to be giving the keynote. And when it’s over, I don’t want to just feel, “I’m so glad that’s over”.  I want to feel like I made a difference, even to one person. 

I have to prepare myself to make sure those are the feelings I take into the room with me. I’ll get up in the morning, go through my gratitudes, go to the gym to workout (listening to my “pumped” playlist), and then I’ll meditate, which are the things I would do any morning. It makes sense to do my morning routine as I would at home as I always aim to feel confident yet appropriately humble, passionate about the things are important to me, and grateful for all that I have.

After that I’ll head to the conference site early to get into the room, make sure my slides are working fine, visualize the audience while thinking about those feelings I want to bring. Then I’ll chat with my friends, grab some breakfast, and then the show begins.

I am truly grateful for the opportunity to give this talk next week and for the opportunity to see good friends. Lately I’ve been feeling like my life is coming back to me, though it looks a little different. I’m hopeful that next week will be my opportunity to help others while showing myself that I really am rising out of the fog of the last few months.

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