I made my conference speaking debut in San Diego for the 2014 IA Summit. It was during my second opportunity to speak, at the 2014 Madison+UX conference a few weeks ago, I noticed the commonalities between speaking and participating in racing.
And here goes…
When you first submit your talk to a conference or enter into a lottery for a race bib, there is a great deal of excitement accompanied by impatience waiting to hear. Then the news comes, and GREAT, your talk has been selected to be on the schedule and WOW, your number has been selected for a spot in the race.
Then comes the hard part, the training and the prep work. You spend a lot of time thinking about your talk or race, you read up on the latest and greatest that will either make your talk completely memorable or help you achieve your race PR (Personal Record for those of you who don’t know race lingo) and you feel that you have prepared well.
It’s here! The time has come. It’s TODAY!!! You are practicing and rehearsing your presentation with a nervous energy or you are in the starting corral with tens of thousands of other crazy racers. You have time to think and wait until everything begins. You think to yourself (and maybe share with others around you), “Oh crap! What did I do? Why did I sign up for this? I must be crazy. I don’t want to be here doing this.” The waiting is horrible and creates undue anxiety.
Then you are announced and come on stage to share your knowledge of the topic with those who want to hear what you have to say, or the race starts. At some point, you settle into a comfortable pace and knowledge that you did the hard work preparing for this moment. You relax and do what you do.
Finally, it’s over! Phew, you can now breathe and the first thing that comes to mind is, “That was awesome!!! I can’t wait to do it all again!”