I have always hated public speaking, for as long as I can remember. Fear of ridicule, fear of rejection, fear of embarrassment. You name it, I had it! Even if I knew what I was speaking about, it didn’t matter. PARS changed me, and definitely for the better!

My first baby step was doing one-on-one training with our staff, at 14 different sites. This wasn’t too bad as it’s easier to speak to a couple of people at a time instead of a large group. I quickly warmed up to it, modeling the techniques we use, explaining WHY we use them, what the benefits are of each different one, etc. Then came the next question.

Would I be willing to speak at the next PARS conference? Just a short bit, but I freaked out! I had lots of notice, but only wrote the final draft of my talk in the middle of the night with my best friend (as the conference was from 1:00 am-1:00 pm our time!), a few hours before my time slot. I just froze and couldn’t think. But, in the end, it turned out great and the feedback I got was fantastic and very helpful.

The next step (giant leap for me!) was being asked to do a one-hour online PARS presentation to all our staff (about 50). Now, that one, I thought “What the heck can I talk about for an hour??” As I worked on it over the next few weeks, I had a few people preview it for me to see how it flowed, and what I should add/remove. I used that feedback to tweak it even more until even I knew it was good! I ended up speaking for almost an hour and a half, which completely surprised me.

I guess it just took the right combination of people, places, and timing for me to find the confidence I never had before. Fear 0 Heather 1

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