Public Speaking – Even Extroverts Can Suffer Nervousness & Anxiety!


Last week I was the guest speaker at our local 4070 Business Network Meeting.  I had been asked a few months ago, and given it had been over 10 years since I’ve regularly gotten up in front of a crowd, I thought why not?

Then the next thought came…WHAT AM EARTH AM I GOING TO TALK ABOUT!!!!!!!

After I calmed myself, I thought about the reason why many people choose to engage me as their Virtual Assistant. What I have been finding initially when I started Call on Jo, is that as business owners we wear a lot of hats and have to do a lot of tasks in our businesses, often by ourselves.  Therefore, what I found when people were engaging me, is that they didn’t have the time to do the task they got me to do.

So that’s when I thought I would talk about productivity in business and provide a series of tips that solopreneurs and business owners can use to help them become more productive in their day to day.

BUT…even though I am an extrovert and do love to talk (LOL), I suffer from the same butterflies we all geJo talking with small business ownerst when thinking about public speaking…right up to when I start to talk.  AND these days I also suffer from mild anxiety so the thought of getting up and talking in front of people again, was to the point of almost talking myself out of it!

The old saying “people fear public speaking over death” still rings true.

So what did I do to help me in the lead up to the day and on the day?


  • When you already know a topic, it does help settle the butterflies because you do this day in and day out – the tips and tricks I was providing are ones that I use each and every day in my own business and personal life.


  • Practicing in front of the mirror, family, your kids or friends helps you with your timing; shows you are well adverse to what you going to say and doesn’t make you sound like a robot talking (the first lot of feedback I received after delivering my very first training session was that I sounded like a newsreader…eeek!!!!).


  • I had my slides created and added my own notes, but I’ve always found (for me anyway!) that not reading from a palm cards is much more natural and makes it easier for me to also do more off the cuff dependent on how interactive my audience is.
  • I had also created handouts so my audience could take something away with them to refer to at a later date.
  • I also organised a challenge that the audience could participate and get them thinking and interacting as opposed to just listening to what I had to share.


Well I can tell you I was certainly feeling extremely nervous before the event and checking that I had everything before getting out the door (as well as getting the mini-mes ready and out the door to school).

Then a friend messaged me asking if she could come along to see how I do public speaking as she had an engagement that she has to do this week…um….sure…GULP!!! (Hopefully she got some good tips on how I do my public speaking – I know she will do great even though she is feeling petrified!).

I got to the venue earlier than the event start time to setup my laptop and ensure it is working OK and connecting with the screen (TICK it was…YAY!). It also allows me to get a feel for the room and meet with the audience prior to commencing. I find introducing myself to people I don’t know makes it better when you have to speak to the audience as you’ve gotten to know their names and a little bit about them prior to starting.

Jo McKenzie sharing productivity tipsI always get the butterflies in my tummy prior (who doesn’t?), so along with having a drink that I could sip on, I also took a few deep breaths.  Luckily for me, it was like riding a bike…once I started everything just came back to me and I remembered how much I do love talking and interacting with people!!!!

I also enjoy sharing my knowledge…after all, your audience are there to hear what you have to say as they’re interested in the topic. I mean would you go to an event that didn’t interest you? I am fortunate too, that my audience wanted to participate and share their thoughts and ideas on productivity which meant even more knowledge was shared with all attendees!

It is also important to remember to slow down…I am typically a fast talker, but when speaking I do have to slow it down as sometimes my Kiwi accent pops up now and then, plus if you are speaking too fast you are not giving your audience the time to absorb what is being said. Pauses during talks are OK – it enables you to also gather your thoughts and check where you are up to.

LASTLY – accept the fact that sometimes things will happen and really just to go with the flow!

  • Fortunately for me, I didn’t suffer any major (apart from a minor spelling error!) hiccups, but I can tell you I have in the past and really, there is no point in stressing about them.  The key is back in the organisation stage. Think of all the things that could go wrong and ensure you have a backup plan if it does.  I have dealt with no internet connection, laptops not working, networks being down, staff pulling out of training (and I’ve travelled to be there!) to name a few! And here I am on the other side far better for surviving them!!!!

As the group has their own private page for members, images were shared that was taken on the day and I received some very lovely feedback:

  • Great information, thanks Jo
  • Very useful thanks Jo!
  • I got a lot of food for thought….to be put into action. Thanks Jo
  • New we all have to put it into practice to cash in on the benefits, great presentation Call on Jo
  • Yep took your advice today and going to block out some fun time!
  • Planning to search for that time tracker App you mentioned, Jo – thank you!!

Productivity in Business Talk  Jo McKenzie sharing productivity tips

Another big thanks to Claire Pitcher Photography for the images used in today’s blog and thank you to 4070 Business Network for having me. I look forward to going back to being an AUDIENCE MEMBER for future network events!!!!

So today I challenge you to step outside of your comfort zone and give something (even if not public speaking) a go. And the more times you do something, the easier it will become.

Until next time,

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