Hello everyone! Today, I’m going to share my experience with my first public speaking job.
I’m so excited to share this experience with you. It was such a cool opportunity and I really enjoyed it. Now, I do not yet have the recording to share with you, as it still hasn’t been posted. But I wanted to share what I could since the presentation I gave was almost a month ago now.
My Experience with my First Public Speaking Job
Before the Event
So I figured I would start with actually explaining how this job found me! For a few years now, I have been regularly attending cool events at my local public library. In recent years, public libraries have really focused on becoming community centers and providing incredible educational services beyond the research and entertainment materials one would typically expect. My library has had great programs for teens and kids, and even families. Adult programs were a little more hit and miss but have been really ramping up! Of course, with the pandemic, many events had to adjust to virtual events or hybrid events.
So, back to me! One of the librarians I’ve become friends with and I connected over our love for writing. While we talked about that, she mentioned she found my blog via my Instagram. Since I tend to “like” a lot of the library events, she clicked on my profile, realized it was me, and then saw my blog linked on my profile. She brought up the program she was doing, of inviting creators in the local area to speak. She had already had an author, a musician, and a vendor on Etsy as some examples. She asked me if I would want to do an event so I said yes!
The next step was to negotiate a rate, decide on a date, and sign the contract. Once all of those things were done, I also had to fill out a tax form as well. This was all done over mostly email, but sometimes I did stop in to drop stuff off, especially the tax form as I had to include more sensitive information I didn’t want to send over email!
After that, I had to decide how I wanted the room laid out and what tech I needed. I did ask for the event to be a hybrid event, since I had a few friends who were out of state or did not feel comfortable attending in person. The library was super accommodating! The were also willing to accommodate things like a slide presentation, but I didn’t want to do that. I definitely wanted something a bit more casual and low-key.
So the day of the presentation I got to the library a bit early! I spoke with one of the security people there about the presentation, waited a bit, and then went in to see if I could help set up. Eventually we got it all set up but the tech wasn’t working as well as expected, so the librarian ended up switching it all out. We got started a bit late because of it, but it worked out much better that way!
I started with explaining a bit about how my blog got started, my experiences since then, shared a few resources and tips for getting started, and then answered some questions!
A lot of the questions came from the librarian and security person actually! There were three people on the Zoom, one of which was one of my friends who’d I’d asked to attend to make sure at least one person showed up! In general the questions they had were about deciding the type of content to share. I tried to answer everything as completely and honestly as possible without rambling. I think I did that fairly well!
For example, one question was about how I would handle sharing any future family I might have. I didn’t think it was quite the right time to go into my childfree preferences so I just said if I had a human child, I would probably not share too much, but I would share some general updates. But then I pointed out that I exploited my dog for content so who knows! I did also say if I had a husband then he better be okay with being exploited for content too, which got a few laughs.
Another question was if the pandemic affected my blog. I had to admit it did! As a lifestyle blogger, when my lifestyle changes drastically, so does the type of posts I can and will share. Prior to the pandemic, I did a ton more travel posts, adventures out in Chicago posts, and even posts on shopping hauls. I still spent a ton of time at home, I am a homebody at heart, but it wasn’t the focus of my blog. However, once I was no longer doing the “fun” stuff out of the house, I shared a lot more about what I do at home. I shared the baking hobby I picked up, my bullet journal for a bit, decluttering, gardening, and other stuff I probably wouldn’t have shared before. I’ve also become a lot more interested in personal finance so I’ve included a lot more information about my own personal finance journey than I might have before the pandemic. In fact, I don’t think that interest would have grown as much if there hadn’t been a pandemic!
One of the really interesting questions that came up was how I picked the name for my blog, which I can’t remember if I’ve ever talked about on the blog. I’m sure I have, since I’ve been blogging for over five years now. But when the librarian asked I actually got super excited to answer! As any blogger knows, the name is a huge part of the blog! It’s what everyone will know you as after all. Every “how to start a blog” post will tell you that you need to pick a good one too. If you change it later it’s a headache to rebrand and could hurt your blog if people don’t know you’ve rebranded. If you pick one that’s too long, too boring, too hard to spell, etc. then no one will find you. You have to have a memorable name too. So my story is that I picked my name in college, at the height of the YouTube vlogger craze. I actually wanted to be a vlogger for awhile so I had the idea that I was going to vlog but make it artsy so it would be like a short film. And it would, of course, star Pamela! So “StarringPamela” it was! Anyway, that vlog channel never actually happened (both fortunately and unfortunately – I’m sure those vlogs would be cringe but would have been nice to look back to) but the name stuck. And everyone always compliments it when I share my social media so I know it’s a good one!
Anyway, I hope to share the recording still once it eventually is posted, so I won’t go into too much more detail about it but those are some examples of the questions I got! I really was relieved people did attend, even if they were on the quiet side. It was just so nice that people were curious and interested. I did get a few emojis from the people on Zoom, which I made sure to shout out when I saw them pop up, so they knew I was paying attention to the screen too!
After about an hour, I shared a few places that everyone could find me at and that was that!
After the Presentation
Once the presentation was done, I hung out with the security person and the librarian for a bit! They both complimented my public speaking skills, which I was so relieved to hear. I joked that it’s the “tens of thousands of dollars I spent on those fancy business degrees” I have. (Which is honestly true, so shout out to Elmhurst University’s business program!) We also spoke a bit about how it went, the librarian gave me a time frame of when to pick up my check, and then I headed out!
In hindsight I do think it would have been nice to include a few slides, maybe showing the progression of the photos/featured images I used to use, maybe some examples of posts, and stuff but I don’t think it would have made a big different honestly. I think overall it went very well and I love that I did it! The librarian did ask if I had anything else I wanted to present since she thought it went pretty well and enjoyed my presentation! I don’t think I have anything too terribly exciting that isn’t already covered by someone else presenting at the library, but I suppose maybe I should think about it! I did really enjoy the experience, as I mentioned, and I would love to do another presentation.
So that was my experience in my first public speaking job! I do hope I get another public speaking opportunity. I suppose I should work on being more interesting in order to make that happen!
Thanks for reading!
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