A month or so ago, I got an e-mail from Professor Camille Kraeplin at SMU. She teaches a class on “Women and Minorities in Journalism,” and since I am female, lesbian and work in the LGBT media, she asked if I would come talk to her class.
My first instinct in situations like this is to say, sorry, no. I am not good at public speaking. Never have been. But I do feel a responsibility to pass on any useful knowledge I might have to people who might find it interesting or helpful, so I said yes.
I always get nervous about these things. So my usual tactic is to not think about it until the last minute. That way I don’t have the chance to get stressed out and nutted up over it. Of course, the obvious drawback is that I never actually have anything prepared, so I always end up kind of winging it. My solution is to give the audience a very basic outline of who I am and what I do, and then let them ask questions. Answering a specific question from a specific person is like having a conversation, which I am okay with, rather than like actually giving a speech or presentation.
Anyway, this morning I headed over to SMU to meet Prof. Kraeplin and share my “years of wisdom” with her students. Luckily for me, the students â€” a roomful of young women â€” were all very nice. They asked some very good questions and at least pretended to be interested in my answers. So I made it through without getting too nerved up.
So I just wanted to take a minute here to say thanks to Prof. Kraeplin and her students, first of all, for inviting me to speak, and mostly for being so attentive and involved in the discussion. I hope you guys got something useful out of it.