Must learn to say no ….

I got a request from the very nice people at the Department: Library & Information Service to be a Guest Speaker at their Service Awards Ceremony.  This week.  To talk for 20 minutes.  In front of 200 people!

Alarmed much?

Initially I tried to ignore the request, but Ridhwaana has proved a persistent stalker.

I was not sure how to say no.  She did ask nicely.  Initially I was flattered, and whilst the size of my head swelled, I was unable to get my mouth to say no!!  I then hoped that they would make contact with someone else, if I ignored her long enough.

Prayed they would find someone else.  Was about to rattle of a short list of other people I suggested they contact.

They didn’t. I left it too late, so now I will be stage/hiding behind a podium talking to 200 people.  I am mortified.  I am throwing up in a little brown bag strategically lined with plastic so it does not leak as I slip it into my large dirty orange handbag.

My brain is flooded with adrenaline.  To be honest it is flooded with that other stuff.  The stuff that makes you put your fingers in your ear and go la-la-la-la and procrastinate.

I cannot think what I could possibly say to Library people or any people for that matter, which will sound vaguely interesting for 20 minutes, and without embarrassing myself … more than I usually do.

How the hell do I get myself into this situation?!  More importantly who can I pay to get me out of this situation?

I am thinking about having a liquid breakfastv and then just seeing how it goes, speak off the cuff, no notes …..

Cripes, I haven’t told them I have a social phobia and one of more endearing qualities in a high pressured situation is to talk insanely and exhibit symptoms that disimiliar from Tourette’s.  That I am sure will go down like a lead balloon!

Have not prepared anything …. I might fake a stomach bug.

Leave a comment


  1. Sunell from Brackenfell Library

     /  September 9, 2012

    My whole staff and I were a few of the “200” librarians at Thursdays Ceremony and we enjoyed your talk so much! Your charm and great sense of humour won us over! You can easily take up public speaking as a hobby…

  2. Tania

     /  September 6, 2012

    i was at the Libraries’ service awards ceremony, and thoroughly enjoyed your talk! Thank you very much for making a whole room of people feel valued and appreciated.

    • reluctantmom

       /  September 6, 2012

      Aw thank you …. that made me feel really good!

      • countesskaz

         /  September 6, 2012

        well done. what did you talk about?

        • reluctantmom

           /  September 6, 2012

          About my love of reading and also how incredible the public library is – I am amazed at the incredible service I receive, and also how they manage to provide such a great resource, obviously on a very tight budget.

  3. you’ll be great!
    Cos….Just chat to them from your perspective of life – in format suggested by contessakatz. Have this as a structure with bullet pt notes / key words that you ad lib around.

    you’ll be great!!
    Cos…20min will actually fly by. Go for the laughs…at these sort of things it’s, frankly, mainly the entertainment value.

    you’ll be great!!!
    Cos….your style of “keeping it real” will resonate.

  4. Hilary

     /  September 4, 2012

    My only tip would be to have a glass of courage before hand.

  5. Karen

     /  September 4, 2012

    You’ll be fine. Do you want to do a dry run or want me to join you for moral support? Then you only have to look at me and none of the other 200 people.

    • reluctantmom

       /  September 4, 2012

      You are very sweet, but I think I would like to embarrass myself infront of people I hope will not try to find me later.
      Crikes it is all going to go so badly.

  6. countesskaz

     /  September 4, 2012

    okay here goes,

    1-DO NOT speak off the cuff. that’s just silly

    2-choose a subject-
    books, reading, the value of reading for children, the value of reading in your home, parenting, the joys and horrors of it all,libraries in rural areas, the English language and how different it is in every part of South Africa(dialect), your blog and the importance of writing and how it’s helped you (or Not), writers that have inspired you. what makes a book do well? (twilight, 50 shades, harry potter blah blah blah)

    3. Your talk must have an introduction( 5 min),content of about 5 points of 2 minutes each(10 min), and then a conclusion(5 min)

    4. good luck, you obviously have something valuable to say or else they wouldnt ask you!
    5. just think of your audience as vertical lumps of naked people.

    p.s find out who your audience is, so you can sort of pick a topic that may relate to them.

  7. tracy

     /  September 4, 2012

    what about starting off with a verbal version of your post about rejoining/rediscovering the library and their book on tape section? That would gladden any Library-type’s heart. Good luck and Rescue Remedy!


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