It’s harder than it seems.
I shouldn’t have a problem with public speaking, particularly when the topic is something I’m passionate about like multiple sclerosis.
But here I was, amid fellow MSers, activists and lawmakers, at a loss for what to say. The event was a Legislative Luncheon at the state Capitol, put together by the indefatigable staff at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to educate legislators about multiple sclerosis and put a constituent face on the disease.
Introductions are the toughest.
Hi, I’m Jennifer. And you are?
What is your connection to multiple sclerosis?
I have multiple sclerosis and would like to briefly share my story.
Have you tried the cranberry cookies? They are the best.
I managed a few conversations, but mostly clung on to other Q&As already in progress like they were a life preserver and I a drowning girl.
Social butterfly I am not.
And when I get flustered, I tend to say the absolute wrong thing.
Such as talking to Shane Broadway like he is still in office instead of the new interim head of the Higher Ed department.
I mean, I work at a newspaper, for Christ’s sake. I put the story online about Jim Purcell leaving and Broadway taking over.
Certainly, I can work more on staying on message. And making small talk.
I hate small talk. Because I am terrible at it. Just utterly useless.
But, as with anything, it takes practice.
I was recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. I couldn’t walk and so we went to the hospital, where my diagnosis came fairly quickly, which in the world of MS makes me pretty lucky. Have you tried the cranberry cookies? Really, they are delightful.