Each June, the local Chamber of Commerce hosts its annual banquet.
With my position as President and a Board member behind me, I was not part of the presentation this year. I enjoyed the event as a member guest.
Excited about the delicious dinner prepared by a high-end chef and mingling with the crowd was enjoyable. In my past roles, my nerves would be on high alert at the dinner, especially when I had a speaking part. Yes, public speaking to an audience of 200 people, is right at the top of my list of phobias. Techniques to help reduce anxiety sometimes work. One I learned at this years event could have been helpful.
After the award presentations and dinner, the entertainment begins. A gentleman appeared on stage and introduced himself as a hypnotist. Very interesting, I’ve heard of this to lose weight and quit smoking but became curious about short term use. There was not much response to his first request for volunteers, but a few chairs moved by his second attempt. I was one of them. I just had to try it.
It began with ten participants in chairs on the stage. The hypnotist prepared us to feel very rested after the session. His soft voice gave directions, and with a snap of the finger, I drifted away. I could hear the audience laugh but did not know why.
Time moved along quickly. With another snap of the finger, I was awake in the chair. The others in the cast looked weary. I took a slow walk towards the stairs of the stage. Feeling like I just awoke from a nap, my hand held tight to the rail.
Back at the dinner table, friends shared the embarrassing photos of my chicken walk and stiff dance moves.
I often wonder if the membership will remember me for my well-rehearsed speeches or my spontaneous clucking.