“Are you SURE you’re going to be alright Mum?”, “Yes, why?”, “I just REALLY don’t want you to muck up”, “Right, why?”, “Because that would REALLY embarrass me”, “Right”. “It’s just, are you SURE you’re not trying TOO hard?”, “Erm”, “Why don’t you just do a Power Point quiz”, “Well, I could……”, “That’s what Charlottes Dad did last week, it was brilliant”, “Right”.
Bloody bloody fuck fuck. Public speaking. Haven’t done it since first year in University for which I consumed various (legal and illegal) substances in an attempt to hide my nerves (and lack of prep.). My audience said that I was both hasty and lacked focus. I haven’t spoken publicly since.
So with my New Year resolution in mind I’ve (reluctantly) agreed to speak to sixty 7 and 8 year olds about my work in the television industry, y’know to give them something to strive for past working in the local Tesco. Initially thinking kids would be an easy first step I’ve come to realize it’s probably the toughest audience I could pick; easily distracted, judgemental and honest. Bloody shitty shit bags.
I’ve written a presentation that involves using some of the children to re-enact the opening sequence of a typical studio show, something like The X Factor – presenter, camera ops, floor manager, director etc. I thought that was quite a good idea till my 7yo piped up with his concerns (later echoed by my husband). Now I’m totally bricking it.
In half an hour I’ll be there setting up & I’ve been to the loo 5 or 6 times already, my mouth is dry & I want to vomit. I’ve contemplated a quick whiskey, but decided that would only guarantee a crap performance. I’m only settled by the knowledge that I tend to talk more when I’m nervous. I find myself relying on an embarrassing character defect to get me through.
I’m welcomed by Mr Hutchins & Mrs Willsher & 60 snotty children file into the room chattering, pushing, scratching & fidgeting. Then, sober as a judge, I take one last look at my notes, stand up and take a bloody great big breath,
“Good afternoon children, my name is Emily Barnes”.
P.S. I totally loved it & they’ve asked me back to speak to other classes. Yay!