From fearful to fabulous
On International Women’s Day this year, we were invited by Broadridge Financial Solutions in London to speak about women’s confidence and we asked Manda Lakhani, our strategic advisor, to do this for us. In this blog, Manda shares her experience about how she felt fearful at the prospect of public speaking after a long break, but how this turned into feeling fabulous by the end.
“When Joy and Sophie asked me to speak, I was initially excited and honoured to be asked. This then turned into imposter syndrome with a little voice in my head saying: Why would anyone listen to me? What have I got to offer?”
Manda knew deep-down that public speaking was something she was good at. However, the sudden death of her father meant her health and wellness business had declined and she therefore hadn’t spoken publicly for seven years. She was inspired to speak at this event, especially as we had asked Broadridge to contribute to The Hunger Project, a charity close to her heart, for which she is on the Board of Trustees.
Once Manda had got over her initial feelings of wow, eek, yes, mmm, we reminded her about her previous business in which she had empowered a team of women to build their own businesses and that she had presented on stage in front of 10,000 in Las Vegas. Manda says “Sophie and Joy gave me confidence in my own abilities by reminding me of what I had achieved and their faith in me was crucial to bringing me back into a positive space.” We knew Manda could do this, otherwise we wouldn’t have asked her, but she had to find that inner confidence which had been hidden for such a long time. We talked about how preparation and practise was all she needed to get her into the right place, and spent time with her to build her confidence.
I asked Manda about her preparation for the event. “Sophie and Joy were both very supportive, despite the fact we were all in different locations. The biggest challenge for me was time management as I had so many other projects on the go. We only had a week to prepare for the presentation and it ended up being quite focused and intense preparation. I was keen to finish with at least 24 hours spare so that I could sit with it and practise it out loud, and get feedback on how the presentation flowed, which was critical.”
Manda explained that on the morning of the event she was nervous and felt a bit sick, however, she knew that these ‘butterflies’ were necessary for a good performance. Being dressed for the part gave her a real sense of empowerment and helped her to look and feel confident. She made sure that she arrived early and had anticipated any tech problems that may occur on the day, so only had to think about staying focused. She says “I did a quick meditation before the event to really get me into the present moment and this helped me to relax and focus my attention.”
I was interested in finding out how Manda felt during the presentation. “It was important for me to connect with the audience as they came into the room; this helped me to feel like I was talking to individuals during the talk. I spent time recalling my previous experience and reminded myself to breathe deeply, pace my speech, and allow some silences so the audience could process the content. I was amazed that skills that I’d learned over 20 years before all came into flow, which was incredible. I felt so empowered whilst I was presenting and I’m sure I released so many good hormones that morning! I was amazed at how quickly the hour went and was pleased that I managed to fully engage the audience. The interaction exercises that Sophie had suggested proved to be very useful and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.”
I asked Manda how she felt immediately afterwards? “I was on such a high; I felt like I’d really achieved what I’d set out to achieve. On the way home, there were a few moments of feeling deflated as it was all over, but it made me realise that I want to do more. So, the fear that I had experienced at the start of the journey definitely turned into feeling fabulous by the end. Thank you to Joy and Sophie for giving me this opportunity and for your support on the journey!”
“Manda delivered a really inspiring and well-structured presentation which I found really accessible and useful. Colleagues that also attended the event shared similar feedback. Since our seminar a number of those who attended have commented on how they want to increase their confidence in the workplace!" - Gabriella Zasadzka, Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc
If you are struggling with public speaking or just need some renewed confidence, please do get in touch with us on hello@myconfidencematters to see how we can help.