Public Speaking? Yikes!

SD Sunrise JARW

I had a new experience last week.  I was asked to speak at the annual South Dakota Cattlewomen’s Convention.  Some of you, I’m sure, are thinking “what’s the big deal?”  Well, the big deal is that I am NOT a public speaker.  Not that I have trouble speaking.  Often times I am sure my husband and kids wish I would zip it, but talking their ear off and getting up in front of a room full of women to tell my story about Just A Ranch Wife are two completely different things.

It all began back in June.  Sylvia from the South Dakota Stockgrowers emailed me to invite me to speak on an agriculture advocacy panel (Ag-Vocacy!).  I was honored, but more shocked.  What did they think that I could possibly contribute?  I told Sylvia I would have to think about it as it was going to push me way beyond my comfort zone.  She wanted me to talk about what I wanted to accomplish with my website and my role in agriculture.  After mulling it over for a bit I decided to accept the invitation.  An educated speaker would have probably started thinking about what they were going to talk about at this point.  I’m not an educated speaker.

Life got busy.  I had my tonsils out.  We started working calves and fall preconditioning.  School started and with it high school sports necessitating our traveling to our daughter’s volleyball games.  All of a sudden it was the day before I was scheduled to speak.  We were on our way to yet another volleyball game when the Big Guy said “Are you planning on writing some notes or something for your speaking tomorrow?”  He had a look of concern on his face.  I really didn’t want to make him worry even more, but I did anyway.  “Not planning on it!” I responded.  You could see the doubt in his eyes.  He was worried.

The volleyball game went great and we headed back to Rapid City where we were staying in order to attend the convention the next day.  The next morning I got the same worried look and the “are you sure you don’t want to write something down?” question that he had given me the night before.  I shook my head.  “I’m fine” I answered.  He finally admitted that he was just a bit nervous for me– especially since I didn’t seem to be at all.  I love that man.  So I appeased his worry and told him that I wouldn’t tell them my name until my part was over.  If I blew it I would tell them my maiden name and if it went okay I would tell them my married last name.  He didn’t think I was funny.

I had a grand time with the panel, which included myself, Dawn Scheier discussing her work with educating others about agriculture through her work in Find Our Common Ground (or you can find it on Facebook at Common Ground), and Dee Sleep who owns Chicken Creek Communications.  I don’t know how much I educated the rest of the women about what my purpose is with Just A Ranch Wife, but I dang sure learned TONS from the conversations that happened at that meeting.  I loved it.

My future as a ranch wife is pretty secure as I do not have a future in public speaking.  But I did thoroughly enjoy myself.  Thanks SD Cattlewomen for inviting me.

Until next time— JARW

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