How to Not Panic on an International Stage

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as some of you may know…i coached a man to help him achieve becoming a ‘the youngest world champion of public speaking’ evvvver. i also happen to be married to the man.

Ryan and Chelsea Avery (1)i hid behind the statement of “i’m the coach not the speaker” for quite some time but just stepped onto my first international stage this weekend!

i was the target speaker for an evaluation contest in toronto, so contestants evaluated my speech and then they were judged based on how well of an evaluation they gave.

when i was first invited to do this a few months ago, my initial reaction was “heeeeeck no!” and then my word of the year of BOLD popped into my mind and i said “yes. count me in” (and then i ate a bunch of chocolate to attempt to make my anxiety decrease).

the microphone was having some issues throughout the weekend but i figured i’d be fine and tested it out before i went on stage. i happened to be wearing a high cut dress so the microphone pressed against my throat (learned that lesson) and i was sure that it would pick up the thud of my pulse. a 300 person audience apparently does that to me.

sure enough, seconds into my opening line and *SCREEEEECH* i play it cool and pretend like none of our ears just exploded with the sound of a banshee. i say a few more words and *EEERRRRKKKKK* by this time, i’m sure my heart is about to burst out of my chest, and then it would get really messy.

some sort of calm and cool collected person inside of me (but totally not me) calmly switched off the microphone hooked to the back of my dress and took the handheld mic that was being rushed to me. well done internal team inside of me!

i take a deep breath, smile, and continue on with my speech of how we can fall asleep more in love! i’m at the point of my story of feeling very full of love and potato burrito as my now-husband proposed to me.

chelsea avery speaker toronto burritothere is something pretty intoxicating about making a room full of people laugh. my nerves slowly start to turn into adrenaline and i remind myself instead of having to give some sort of rehearsed speech, i simply need to speak from the heart and give tangible tips to enhance people’s relationships.

thankfully, i’m also married to a man who knows a thing or two about speaking (and helllllo, so do i!) so it was fantastic to have my biggest fan and supporter sitting in the front row, smiling at me-and taking photos.

chelsea avery relationship blog speaker torontoafter i wrapped up, someone tapped me on the shoulder and passed me one of the best notes (and i used to pass A LOT of notes in high school):

public speaker toronto canada chelsea averyhow cool is that!? i will forgive her for spelling my name with that “y.” the icing on top of her very sweet note was adding the canadian ‘eh’ to the end! this may or may not now be on my office wall. thank you kind woman in the fabulous pink blazer for taking the time to give me this.

thank you everyone for the evaluations i received to help improve my speech and for people saying i handled the great-microphone-crisis-of-sunday-april-6 like a ‘professional.’ now you know the truth that i was actually freaking out but it’s amazing what the team inside of us can handle!

i also got a delicious speaker’s gift of CHOCOLATE! i cannot wait to carefully unwrap this (it’s so artfully wrapped) and indulge in this chocolate after our 50 day challenge is over in 1 week!

speaker gift box of chocolates

so…how to not panic on stage:

1) get centered before you go on. you are in control of the situation-don’t let it control you
2) trust yourself that you will handle unexpected situations well
3) remind yourself that people want to hear what you have to say
4) no one knows if you missed a line or said something differently
5) speak from your heart- your voice matters and is powerful

you can also join a local toastmasters club to help combat your nerves and practice your speeches for work, pleasure, play, or international stages (or join ours that we just started that is happening this friday-email me for details and come play!)

the new wifestyle: your voice carries value and power- believe that and use it

1) how do you get centered before speaking in front of people?
2) what is your passion that you could speak forever on?
3) a situation where you surprised yourself by how well you handled it? (mine would be this one as well as when our raft flipped in a class iv rapid)


  1. Paula Howley

    April 8, 2014 at 10:57 am

    Well done Chelsea! See, Canada is special for you- all kinds of cool things happen to you here, eh?
    super proud of you. You get so much superb feedback from an evaluation contest too. I highly recommend being a test speaker if you want serious evals for a speech.
    1. I breathe slowly and deeply and I try to power pose if I can. I also try to remember that I’m speaking to PEOPLE. lol
    2. I could speak about speaking forever! Also, home schooling, and human rights!
    3. I remember this one time I was bleeding to death internally from an undiagnosed ectopic pregnancy. I was about to go on the operating table and although I was very scared and lonely, I was shocked at how calm I was. I just prayed for mercy before I went under and hoped for the best.

    • chelsea

      April 8, 2014 at 3:49 pm

      thanks paula!!! and seriously….canada and me are becoming like this (fingers crossed like BFFs). many good things and YES such great feedback from the evaluation contest!

      love what you said about remembering you are speaking to PEOPLE (not robots that want to take your eyes out…maybe i just think of that sometimes?

      and whoa…i cannot believe you were bleeding to death how terrifying. so glad you came through it a-okay and that you remained calmed. so scary though. thanks again for always supporting me and encouraging me paula-you rock!

  2. junebugroseanne

    April 8, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    Bravo, Chelsea. Is there any audio? I would love to hear your speech.

    • chelsea

      April 8, 2014 at 9:53 pm

      thank you june! i think there was a video of it from the district so we shall see πŸ™‚

  3. Matthew Kleinosky

    April 8, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    Classy show!

    • chelsea

      April 8, 2014 at 9:54 pm

      i do what i can πŸ˜‰ i appreciated your hilarious contest rules too matthew!

  4. Shannon Milliman

    April 8, 2014 at 9:45 pm

    Chelsea! You’re a beautiful inspiration. Brought tears to my tender eyes. I’m so proud of you and I hardly know you…is that possible? I guess so!

    • chelsea

      April 8, 2014 at 10:01 pm

      thank you so much shannon! i really appreciate your sweet words πŸ™‚

  5. Vivien

    April 8, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    congratulations chelsea! I do agree it is very intoxicating hearing the audience laugh at a joke and/or something clever you have said πŸ˜‰

    • chelsea

      April 8, 2014 at 10:04 pm

      well you would be the queen of making people laugh vivien, ms. BC humorous champ πŸ™‚ thanks for the congrats!

  6. carlenlloyd

    April 9, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    .1. I get super nervous but with practice, I’ve learned to look at people in the crowd and try to keep what I say short, sweet, and to the point (doesn’t always happen, but you get the point).
    2. My passion to speak on forever and ever would be getting physically active. I got on a bike after 20 years of not being on one and have done one half-marathon (so far). I know how it changed me physically and mentally! I also gained personal confidence in myself after becoming more active.
    3. The most recent thing I would say I handled is getting myself more involved with networking!

    Great blog post- as always!

    • chelsea

      April 9, 2014 at 8:16 pm

      that’s great that your nerves are getting better with practice carlen-mine too πŸ™‚ that is so impressive that you’ve gotten back on the bike after 10 years and WOW a half-marathon! i can’t even fathom running that fun. well done! happy to hear about improving all areas of your life…keep it up!