Lifelong Learning is one of BNI’s Core Values, and an essential part of my business as a personal trainer. In reflecting on this over the past few weeks, it struck me how my last two years of membership have helped me grow. BNI has grown my client base, but BNI has also helped me grow as a person as well.
One specific way BNI has helped me grow is in my public speaking. I have always had a lot of anxiety about public speaking. I was the quiet kid in school, and when I got called on in school sometimes my voice would get shaky and my face and neck would get red.
I am grateful that BNI forces me to practice my speaking skills every week. This weekly practice was very hard at first but recently I have noticed that the way I do my presentations is starting to shift. I still write out my 60 seconds presentation each week so I am well prepared, but the shake in my voice is almost gone now.
Lately I have been focusing more on keeping eye contact with my audience, occasionally glancing down at the paper to make my points, but attempting to stay connected to my audience at the same time. I am now able to look out at my audience, and if I find myself going off script I’m still able to stay on topic without losing my focus and getting frazzled. I know that I still have a way to go, but I’m getting better.
I also realized that by developing my confidence as a presenter, I have begun to take on more leadership roles outside of my work as well. I have been involved in many community theater productions over the last eight years, and last year I decided to come out of my shell to direct the play ‘Good People.’ Again, my practice with presenting and putting myself in front of a large audience helped me make this dream into a reality, which I am so grateful for.
Additionally, I find myself more confident at parties and other social situations, and am more easily able to talk to strangers. I find myself more generally interested in other people, and through One-to-Ones have learned how to ask questions to get to know them better.
I am so grateful to BNI Vermont for offering us opportunities to grow and develop ourselves as business people. I was so fortunate to attend BNI’s training last month, “Train the Presenter.” It was a part of the new monthly series Vickie Wacek, BNI Vermont Executive Director, is offering to BNI members in Vermont, as well as to the general public.
If you commit to continue to learn and take advantage of all BNI has to offer, you will benefit. I am grateful that I am part of Middlebury BNI, and am delighted to serve as an Ambassador now. I am excited about meeting members in other chapters, and continuing to learn from all of you in our BNI family.