400 seconds of fear – or that time I stood up on stage to chat about cancer!

The other week, a friend of mine, Jonny, convinced me to stand on a stage at the Pecha Kucha Sheffield event that he runs, and chat about how I’m dealing with cancer. Or not dealing with it, as it might be. 

I’ve never been very good at public speaking – it terrifies me, so lets just say that this was a huge thing to agree to for me. And I won’t lie, until about 5 seconds before I got on stage I thought I might bottle it and run away, but somehow, and I’m not sure how, I made it through the talk and I came out the other side. 

If you’re not familiar with Pecha Kucha, each event has a theme, and all the speakers speak about their version of the theme, and when you’re on the stage, you get  20 slides, that last 20 seconds each, which totals 6minutes 40 seconds, or, 400 seconds.

Doesn’t sound too long right? Until you’re standing at the side of the stage, about to go on, with a packed room full of people in front of you and you realise that you’ve 100% written far too much in your google doc to fit into that time, so you decide to wing it! (I’ve always had a problem with too many words. Every essay I wrote at uni had to be shrunken considerably before being handed in!)

PK Sheffield host Jonny Douglas!
I realised that I’d be breaking every public speaking rule book if I tried to cram everything I’d written into my allotted time, so slimmed it down. I took on board the wise words a friend told me. She said that this was my story, and no-one else knows it like I do, so I’m the expert at telling the story. Which is so true.  
I was going to post my entire speech here but there were so many points I’d like to expand on (see, too many words), that I’m going to cut it up and use it as blog post fodder – who knows, it might even get me posting again regularly as half the work is already done. 
But, as nervous as I was, once I came off stage, it was an amazing feeling. To have got up on there, and to have told my story, and to hopefully have educated people on what a secondary cancer is, and the issues that face people with a secondary- mostly about the lack of funding into research to help find more treatments and cures for this type of cancer!

It’s almost got me thinking that maybe I could do it again- albeit, without the pressure of the 20/20 slide situation going on behind me!

I was also privileged enough to share the stage with some amazing people, people who are dealing with some incredible and inspirational situations. Each of them so different to the next. 

Vanda from The Suit Works
Lara from The Snowdrop Project
Sheffield’s Major Magid
Neighbourhood voices choir
Dodge and Co

But before I get carried away, I might need to up my public speaking skills – got any tips for me? 

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