I was at the Hilton for an important work event; our MD and
Board members were present as well as top management staff. Employees of
different levels were also asked to be present as the organisation’s new
corporate identity was being unveiled. I felt privileged to be in the midst of
my organisation’s top brass and was looking forward to the event.
went to the podium to address the audience on the brand and why we all needed
to embrace it. As the second speaker addressed us, the MC moderating the event approached
“Aren’t you Chioma? You’re speaking next, right?”
my name and last name on his schedule, I knew that the people in the
Communications Unit had given him my name without informing me. He saw that I
was totally unprepared and told me he could shuffle the order and call someone
else before me, but I told him it was OK and I went ahead.
speaker who was used to speaking before crowds, right? Well, you couldn’t be
more wrong. I was scared stiff….
Apart from sharing a testimony in church years ago, this was a first. Secondly,
I stammer. I have stammered all my life, and anyone familiar with stammering
will know that it gets worse under pressure or anxiety. Finally, the
people in the room were big ogas…not
just from my office but from other places as well.
as an opportunity to test and practise my public speaking skills. In the
few seconds before being called up to the podium, I told myself I should feel
privileged to be chosen to address such a distinguished gathering. I also told
myself that if they had put my name on that list with such accomplished people,
then I would make the best of it.
killer suit that day (one reason you should always make sure you look “on
point”), and I “girded my loins” and mounted the podium with my head raised
addressed the dignitaries. “Our MD, distinguished Board, and all protocols
observed (magic phrase when you don’t want to leave anyone out), my honourable colleagues,
I am here to speak once again on the brand…”
the crowd and kept it short and sweet.
glass of water, a colleague patted me on the back and said, “Nne ñuo mmili, i gbaliana!”
(“Drink water, you have tried!”)
na me I for run!”