• Selina Arnall

Speak Girl Speak

If you don't know it by now, you are never going to know it!!

As I tore through another page of my notebook on my 6am flight from Melbourne to Sydney I could feel fear setting in, filled with panic I had still not written my keynotes for that night's event in Sydney.

I hadn't spoken in front of more than ten people since the early 2000's I most definitely didn't enjoy the experience back then, so I am not sure why I believed I would all of a sudden enjoy it now?

A very well respected member of the wedding and events industry had asked if I would like some airtime at her event #KICKSTART20, and of all places, it could be held it was at the Sydney Opera House, at first I was filled with absolute delight, buzzing to be precise, but then I clearly remembered that every time I speak in front of people my face goes the colour of red wine, my English accent out of nowhere becomes extremely Southern and the words come out faster than anyone can comprehend.

So I am not sure why I said yes really, maybe I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone in 2020? what other reason could there be to say yes to a potential career disaster? I must add here that a month prior to this intended talk I had an operation on my throat, I had a 6cm deep red scar and my voice was somewhat unpredictable as to when it did and didn't want to cooperate with me, I was literally throwing my dignity out the window with this life choice!!

I am an event manager that likes to be neither seen or heard, I like to get shit done, make it happen and go home it is there where I celebrate my wins, centre stage in front of a hundred or so people was starting to dawn on me as probably something I didn't really need to do in life, would this really be something I would look back on with a great sense of achievement?

Well, it was, it absolutely bloody well was...

As I sat in my hotel suite I continued to write and rip the paper out of my notebook, I spoke to the mirror, I called anyone who would pick up the phone to me and line by line read them through everything I had planned to say as friends and colleagues told me to slow down, oh maybe don't say that, hmmmm Selina I am not sure you should really say the F word that many times, unaware I was even saying it at all, my nerves were slowly but surely getting the better of me. I commenced the march to my fate at 4.30pm, I stopped for a pre-event drink or two, let's just call it two, as I continued to mourn my sorrows for something that hadn't even happened yet I decided to throw caution to the wind and bin my notes, remembering something my dad had said before sitting my GCSE exams "if you don't know it now, you are never going to know it" and he was right.

I have been organising events for two decades, my heart is in every single event that I create because I love what I do, and if I cannot naturally find the words from within to say out loud about why events are so important, how they bring industries, people, communities together and the underlying reasons as to why we create events then how can I call myself an event manager!

With this newfound liquid courage I asked the event organiser if she would do me a huge favour rather than allow me the solo talk time to f**k up in front of her audience would she be so kind as to interview me, no forced keynotes, no envisaging people naked to get through the nerves, just an open candid talk about the importance of events within the industry and how we can learn from each other if given the platform to bring us together.

Ultimately isn't this the reason why this event was created? it was to bring together industry advocates, and there was me to tell them from a wider events perspective why they are so necessary, why they should attend and why we should work together more to get the best out of ourselves and for our businesses, that education and community-focused events create a portal in which we can all benefit from, these events making it more accessible to meet your next collaborator, mentor, referral or event BPF (Best Pro Friend)

To be honest, I cannot remember what I said during this Q&A I was so heavily focused on not passing out or saying the F word repeatedly, but the pictures don't lie, I really did laugh that hard, someone asked about me about my 'what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas' story, and yet I still will never tell!! My support committee in the back row also promised me I didn't go bright red, although I actually felt like my skin was on fire but I walked away from that whole experience feeling like an absolute legend, I then consumed a few more drinks, let's just say a few more and went on my merry way feeling so unbelievably accomplished. When I awoke the next day a little fuzzy I had a lot to grateful for and I was on a high for many reasons...

During this present time where there are no physical events, and who can honestly say when there will be events again and in what capacity they will come back, being an event manager with no events is really pushing me to become more creative with how I keep my sanity. With humans being so social it is natural that we will seek each other out as soon as we can, so in

this downtime, I have been reviewing my 2021 schedule and working on their delivery, their locations, their agendas and how they can be something different to what has been seen before it is keeping me busy and has been a blessing to have this time to really put some thought into how these events and their messages will be delivered moving forward.

If you are ever tasked with public speaking and would like some advice please don't ask me, however, if you would like advice on how good you will feel afterward hit me up.

Selina x

Photography Credit: Inlighten