Hello! I’m Courtney and as you’re reading this it’s likely that I am standing in front of a room full of people scared…witless. That’s right, I’m presenting today.

Now I know I’m not alone in this fear, public speaking is forever listed as one of the most common phobias that people have. I would rather jump out of a plane than stand in front of a room full of people and present. Oddly, I would rather speak in public than eat a tin of beans, so clearly my leguminophobia far outweighs my glossophobia.

But let’s start from the beginning. I joined the Sustainability team at O2 last September as part of the Higher Apprenticeship scheme, working with the environment team towards our Think Big Blueprint goal of delivering carbon benefits to customers 10 times the impact of our network. One of the main pieces of work I’ve been involved in is something called ‘Charger out of the Box’ which you may have heard a little or a lot about before! But just to refresh your memories, it’s our environmental initiative that see’s mobile phones being sold without chargers.

We’re the first company to do this, it’s a very bold move and we really are taking the lead. But as well as being a pioneering initiative, wouldn’t it be great if it were an award-winning one too? My thoughts exactly, so I entered the Corporate Responsibility theme of The Peer Awards.

The first step was to write a submission for the awards, 500 words in total. Now I love to write but I tend to be a bit of a rambler (I hope you’re still with me!).  So I found it  pretty challenging  finding a way to shout about all of the reasons why ‘Charger out of the Box’ is so great in such a small word count, and still hit the judging criteria. After a good few weeks, several drafts and some great input from the team I finally narrowed down our main shouts and got within the word count. Then, some even better news… we were shortlisted!

I was riding the high of being shortlisted so it took me a while to really get my head around the fact that the next stop would be a presentation to a room full of people. But it hit me soon enough and I won’t lie I was pretty scared. I don’t know why, I’ve presented before and I’d say I’m a pretty confident person. As a teenager I even used to sing on stage in front of the entire school (though that soon stopped when I forgot the words to ‘Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee’ and swore down the microphone instead). But after burying my head in the sand for a couple of weeks, not an O2 endorsed method by the way, I decided the best thing for me to do was to prepare, then prepare some more and then stop preparing because there is such a thing as being over prepared. I’ve said ‘prepare’ so much it’s starting to sound funny…

As part of (pulls out thesaurus) getting ready for the presentation, I started working on the story that I wanted to tell. I really didn’t want to be one of those presenters who bore their audience to tears with 120 slides full of size 12 font; I’m hoping to be a little more entertaining than that. So after exploring a variety of ways to present, including interpretive dance, I did settle for a good old slide pack. But don’t worry people, its 10 slides, bright colours, graphs, pictures and there are about 20 words in total so there’s no danger of me being accused of causing death by PowerPoint. At least I hope there’s not.

A really crucial part of readying myself for this was to have a practice run at presenting. I was lucky enough to attend a workshop with some Peer Awards insiders and other finalists where I got the opportunity to present and get some really great feedback. This definitely helped shaped the content and style of the presentation but most importantly I realised that I could do this, no matter how nervous I felt.

So this takes us back to the here and now, me in front of a room full of people hoping that the next time I write about ‘Charger out of the Box’ it will have the words ‘award-winning’ in front of it. Fortunately, I have a great gang of people coming along to offer support who have their fingers crossed for a win and I hope you all do too.

And finally, get involved! Share your presenting experiences with me or just show your support by tweeting using #COOBWinner.


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