Speaking

April 30, 2014

Ben Silbermann and Gabrielle Blair. Alt Summit Keynote, January 2014.

By Gabrielle. Images of me interviewing Ben Silbermann of Pinterest, taken by Justin Hackworth for Alt Summit. 

More travel ahead for me! Plus two speaking engagements that I’m very, very excited about. Tomorrow, I’m flying to Atlanta to speak at the Mom 2.0 Conference. It’s one of my favorite conferences! I’m really looking forward to the trip. I’ve only been to Atlanta once before, and it was basically a drive through, so I’m excited to get to know the city a little better and see what it’s all about.

For sure, I’m most excited about the wonderful friends I’ll get to see! The funny thing about working online is that you don’t really have co-workers. So getting to be with my internet friends and peers in real life — and getting to talk shop the whole time! — is dreamy as can be.

Ben Silbermann and Gabrielle Blair. Alt Summit Keynote, January 2014.

The second speaking engagement I’m still a little stunned about. Next week, I’m headed to New York. I was invited to the Moms + Social Good Conference. And I’ll be on stage with Ambassador Samantha Power, the American Ambassador to the U.N., interviewing her about the work she does and her life as a mother, and how they overlap. I could not be more honored to have been asked! Also, I’m very intimidated. So I’ve been working hard on the list of questions I want to ask and trying to get feedback from everyone I can.

Incidentally, I really enjoyed this peek into a-day-in-the-life of Ambassador Power in New York Magazine.

You can find more about the Moms + Social Good conference, or add your name to the waitlist, here — scroll down to see the list of speakers, and find out why I’m feeling so intimidated. : )

Tell me, Friends. Do you get nervous when you have to speak, or make a presentation, in public? For work, for the PTA, for church, for book club? And if you had to give a big speech, would you prefer to do it TED-style with slides, or would you like an interview format where you respond to questions? I’d love to hear!

P.S. — It’s a remarkably busy day at our house and I feel like I want to distinguish it with a mention because it’s so unusual. I’m packing for tomorrow’s early flight and trying to get my work done for both today and tomorrow. This evening, we’re hosting the high school track team dinner — Maude says to expect 50 people! The girls from Olive’s church group are also coming over to climb the trees. And Ben Blair is helping out at Oscar’s Cub Scout meeting tonight. I’m already imagining how good it will feel to get in bed tonight. : ) Happily, things calm way down next week.

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Annie BW April 30, 2014 at 6:47 pm

Ooo, happy and safe travels to you! Samantha Power is one of my daughter’s (who’s a HS senior) role models and heroes. Just last week she mentioned how seeing her (from afar) in her role at the UN (and knowing she’s a mom, too, and has a rich life outside of her interesting work) gives her lot of hope that her own dreams can come true and motivation to make them happen.

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2 Design Mom May 1, 2014 at 12:28 am

Yay! I think your daughter picked a worthy hero.

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3 Heidi April 30, 2014 at 6:52 pm

Oh my gosh-I was a communications major, then did HR where I had to conduct training seminars-and I loathe public speaking. I just had to give a very quick on the fly talk-and I was a mess. It was seriously embarrassing. I’m not good if I don’t prep. And even then-I get so nervous. Shudder. I really need to get over this though-I’m starting a business where I do occasionally have to speak publicly and I have to make a good impression.

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4 Michelle April 30, 2014 at 7:12 pm

Oh my goodness. And I thought MY day was stressful! I’m a little curious what you’re going to serve the track team for dinner. Is the church group staying too? Good luck tonight, and safe travels!

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5 Alysa April 30, 2014 at 7:33 pm

I get nervous, but I like it anyway! :D Is that funny? Cold flashes, stomach dropping, but once I’m talking I’m good.

And hey! You will be a mere 20 min drive from my front door! If you have some down-time, (or need a ward on Sunday) drop me a line and I’ll take you to lunch or something. It was fun to wave hi over Ben’s shoulder on Skype, but I’d love to meet you in person.

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6 Design Mom May 1, 2014 at 12:34 am

Me too. I get nervous, but I love the feeling afterwards if I feel like I did a good job. For me it’s all about prepping. If I’ve prepared a good presentation and practiced it, I look forward to the chance to speak.

I’ll be sure to wave from the conference!

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7 Lauran April 30, 2014 at 9:24 pm

Wow. I am impressed not just by your speaking invitations, but also by you being able to juggle all these activities with all your kids! It sounds like you’ve found a way to make each of your children feel special, which is a real gift. I wonder — when you have people over, do you freak out about the house not being clean enough, etc., or do you just invite all the chaos in even if the dishes aren’t done? I’m trying to be more relaxed about people coming over despite the state of the house. My husband always says “God forbid people see that we actually LIVE here!” Hah.

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8 Design Mom May 1, 2014 at 12:32 am

I definitely like the house to be clean, but it’s less about making an impression and more about being ready for the chaos and having everything in it’s place. So that when I need to find the pitchers quickly or the serving platters, they’re clean and waiting where I expect them.

But I’d say most of the entertaining we do happens in a very much not perfect house — especially since we moved here and have had perpetual construction going on. And honestly, guests don’t seem to care at all. If we’re happy hosts and there’s food and comfort, it’s all good. Sometimes, that means running errands to pick up food after the guests have already arrived, but it works out.

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9 Lauran May 1, 2014 at 11:16 am

You are so right about the guests not caring. You have the right attitude. “If we’re happy hosts and there’s food and comfort, it’s all good.” Good reminder for me. Thanks.

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10 kate April 30, 2014 at 9:40 pm

Wow! Sounds amazing- all of it! I don’t mind the super busy jam packed family days as long as I have a little time to plan for everything… and then some down time afterwards. I’m not a fan of surprises, so I’d need to know at least a day in advance that 50 kids were coming for dinner… and then I’m sure we’d just have pizza or burgers & such :) But… I’d have a really hard time with a day like this right before a trip, especially if I had a presentation or major event to attend the next day! My mind would be racing and I’d never be able to sleep. You are a pro, however, and will handle it all just fine!

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11 T May 1, 2014 at 4:38 am

Amazing!! I adore Samantha Power. If there is any woman I would like to learn from, it’s her. I’m sure this interview will change your life.

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12 Jennifer May 1, 2014 at 7:40 am

If you get the chance to check out Centennial Olympic Park while you’re in Atlanta, go eat at Googie Burger! Their hamburgers are the best.

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13 NY Mom May 1, 2014 at 8:09 am

Gabrielle, I recommend doing one thing, and that’s prayer. If what you’re doing is important (and it is…) and is meant to change/improve lives (and it has been…), then ask God to bless your efforts. Also- and this is big – pray for your audience! Ask they their hearts be open to your words and that you have confident JOY in your message.

I love that you inspire mothers to bring beauty into their homes and daily lives. Years ago I read a book called “The Hiding Place”, by Corrie Ten Boom. It’s the true story of two Dutch sisters (siblings) who were imprisoned in a concentration camp during WWII. Corrie’s sister had a special gift for deliberately bringing beauty into her desolate cell, just by the way she hung her clothing or displayed her few personal items. Corrie noticed and appreciated her sister’s efforts to bring dignity to her circumstances and surroundings. You follow in a long line of gifted women who instinctively know this and are doing something to inspire the rest of us.

Blessings as you travel…!

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14 Barchbo May 1, 2014 at 8:43 am

I love THE HIDING PLACE! I read it in third grade and it was the first book to really change me as a person. Her sister’s name was Betsie (like mine) and I vowed to be a better sister.

And I love your advice to Gabrielle, too.

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15 Barchbo May 1, 2014 at 8:41 am

Have a great trip! Someday I am going to make it to Mom 2.0!!

I love that Maud is doing track – I loved being on the track team. So fun! And that Olive is having girls from church group over to climb trees? That is so sweet and simple it almost brought tears to my eyes. Love.

Personally, I love public speaking – probably why I liked teaching! Really, I just like visiting with people so interviews are the best. I am TERRIBLE at preparing. I wrote my wedding vows the afternoon of, and then I didn’t even follow them (but I waved the paper around in the air while I was talking.)

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16 julia g blair May 1, 2014 at 9:41 am

Proud of you, Gabby, darling! Also I’m delighted that Ben totally LOVES being home with the adorable kids. It’s win/win all the way! Enjoy every moment.
love and appreciation! Julia b

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17 Christy@SweetandSavoring May 1, 2014 at 10:43 am

Good luck with both speaking engagements and have fun! You sound like you’re prepared in all the right ways :)
I get nervous about public speaking for sure, but nearly as much as I did when I was a teenager. Then, I was anxious beyond belief if I ever needed to speak in front of my class: red-faced, low, wobbly voice, talking too fast, heart pounding, sweating. Ugh! Of course, these days I haven’t had much opportunity to stand in front of a bunch of people, so I’m curious how it would go.
Also, I love that blazer you’re wearing!

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18 Matilda May 1, 2014 at 11:05 am

Wow, what amazing speaking opportunities!

I’m a tour guide, so I speak publicly professionally, but I still do get a little nervous before each tour, I end up speaking way too quickly for the first five minutes! I get into a groove after that, and love my job so much, but I’m not sure if I’ll evernot be nervous!

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19 NY Mom May 1, 2014 at 12:10 pm

One more practical tip that I forgot to mention: public speaking, no matter how well you know your material, is always good for accelerating your heartbeat! As a speaker (to youth groups on abstinence – want to feel like a medieval relic fast?) I carry Bach’s “Rescue Remedy” in my purse. It’s a homeopathic blend of herb-y things that works fast to de-stress you. I may or may not exceed the recommended amount depending on the size of the group before me…(cough cough) but can vouch for its effectiveness nonetheless!

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20 Zoe - SlowMama May 1, 2014 at 2:40 pm

I love interviewing people — and I think I’d choose to be interviewed myself, rather than give a talk. I have a love/hate relationship with public speaking — I kind of love doing it, especially when I’m speaking about something I deeply care about, but I can get really nervous. Preparing helps immensely.

It’s funny because in my 20s I was a professional musical theatre actress for a while and I found performing much less nerve-wracking than public speaking.

Exciting opportunities, Gabrielle. Break a leg!

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21 Susan May 2, 2014 at 5:01 am

I prefer to think of it not as nerves but an adrenaline rush! You will do great. The other speakers are probably looking at your bio and wondering how you do it. Your voice needs to be heard just as much as all the others. Looking forward to a recap on your blog.

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22 Alice May 5, 2014 at 12:11 pm

I’m sure you’ll do great! I have never been interviewed before but I feel ok about doing presentations at conferences, I just switch into conference mode and try not to speak too fast!
Good luck in NY :)

Alice x
(of http://www.tuckandboak.com too)

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