Over 50s Lifestyle

6 life learnings from my first gig as an MC and Guest Speaker

June 18, 2018

Back in May I wrote in my post, Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone in May about my invitation to be an MC and Guest Speaker at the Co.As.It. Mother’s Day High Tea Event.

Early in 2018, I received an email from the Gold Coast office of the Co.As.It. Community organization, explaining that they were organizing an event for Mother’s Day and inviting me to be the MC and one of the Guest Speakers.  The idea was to promote their services which provide assistance with in-home aged care and community support, with an opportunity for women to enjoy time together and a delicious High Tea and Fashion parade.

When I first read the email, I was quite surprised as I hadn’t promoted myself for this type of work, however, the organizers had read my blog and Facebook page and thought I would be ‘perfect’ for the role (their words not mine).  I wasn’t quite as enthusiastic about my abilities but with my usual determination, I wasn’t going to let self-doubt stop me.  This is where stepping out of my comfort zone came into play.

After discussions with Rita and Martina, from Co.As.It, I had a general idea of what I wanted to talk about.  I decided my topic would be one that would hopefully inspire the attendees to take a new look at how they viewed aging.  My speech would be sharing my 5 ways to live with an Ageless Attitude. Once I started writing it all came together and in fact, I had to shorten the speech!

6 life learnings from my first gig as an MC and Guest Speaker

Photo credit: Damian Caniglia, Multimedia Sauce

1. Preparation and Practice

Preparation for any challenge or goal is the key to overcoming anxiety and nervousness. I needed to feel comfortable with the delivery and also I didn’t want to just ‘read’ the speech but rather just refer to the notes.  This meant practice, practice, practice!  I had to overcome my self-consciousness if I was going to present well.  I took the leap to start making videos for my weekly newsletter to get used to hearing my voice and to practice speaking.  I also made a practice video of my speech and then presented to my husband (that made me nervous!).

2. Nervousness can be positive energy

The day arrived and although I had prepared well, I was still feeling some ‘butterflies’.  I’ve read that even accomplished speakers can still feel nervous or anxious before a speech.  The key for them is to use this feeling in a positive way.  Being nervous can actually enhance your presentation, because you don’t become complacent.  You can use a negative feeling to achieve a positive result.  It really is the way you view things.

3. Passion brings Confidence

If you are a regular reader of ST60&Beyond, you will know that I am a great advocate for living the best life that we can and not becoming obsessed with our age.  I found that my passion about this subject brought confidence to me as I truly believed my message and wanted to motivate and inspire others to feel this passion too.

4. We can always do with Support

6 life learnings from my first gig as an MC and Guest Speaker

It was great to have my daughter, Rachel there as my cheer squad Photo credit: Damian Caniglia, Multimedia Sauce

My daughter, Rachel, accompanied me for support and we were able enjoy a Mother’s Day High Tea together. It was a lovely afternoon and I appreciated having her there with me, as my #1 Cheerleader.  I had also shared my speech with some friends who gave me their constructive feedback as well as the support of my husband who was my ‘audience’ several times.

5. Finding Inspiration in Others

6 life learnings from my first gig as an MC and Guest Speaker

Rachel and I met the inspiring Daphne Pirie. Photo credit: Damian Caniglia, Multimedia Sauce

Rachel and I sat with an inspiring lady who was the other guest speaker.  Daphne Pirie is 86 and has an accomplished career in sport and working to promote Women’s Sport in Queensland.  After battling cancer and breaking her pelvis, Daphne recovered, with the help of the Co.As.It. physio team and was able to jog (not walk) in the Queen’s Baton Relay for the Commonwealth Games, held recently on the Gold Coast.  Her speech was entertaining with stories of her life and also her involvement with The Games.  Rachel, was very inspired by her, as was I.

6. Belief in Myself

The most important learning from the experience was that I actually did feel that I presented well.  The ‘Sue of the past’, would have never admitted this and would have been very critical of her ‘performance’.  I believed in my ability and actually enjoyed the whole experience.  I learned I could cope with anything.  For example, I wasn’t given any notes for the Fashion Parade until the models were about to walk down the Catwalk but I was able to go with the flow and it didn’t fluster me.

I have discovered that I enjoy Motivational Speaking and who knows perhaps I might even be offered another opportunity in the future.  If you are looking for an MC or Guest Speaker – I’d love to hear from you!

I was pleasantly surprised when I received feedback from several people suggesting that I must have a number of years of experience in speaking as I was so professional.  Yes, that was certainly good for the ego.  I also received the following feedback and testimonial from Co.As.It. Community Services South Coast:

“Sue Loncaric was a fantastic MC during our Mother’s Day event. Although not what she does on a daily basis, Sue performed incredibly well in her role throughout the entire event.  We loved working with Sue since the day we met her a few months ago. Always available and only one email away,

Sue has an amazing approach to things: relaxed and efficient at the same time. Sue didn’t hesitate to share her personal experiences with a beautiful speech about her life achievements and goals that had the power to inspire many of our guests.
We can truly recommend Sue both as motivational guest speaker as well as a great MC.
Co.As.It. Community Services South Coast “

I’d like to share some photos of the day with you…and if you are interested you can read my speech HERE

6 life learnings from my first gig as an MC and Guest Speaker

Photo credit: Damian Caniglia, Multimedia Sauce


6 life learnings from my first gig as an MC and Guest Speaker

Photo credit: Damian Caniglia, Multimedia Sauce


6 life learnings from my first gig as an MC and Guest Speaker

Photo credit: Damian Caniglia, Multimedia Sauce


Sue with Mariel, Manager Co.As.It. GC and Dina Ranieri the Director of Co.As.It Photo credit: Damian Caniglia, Multimedia Sauce


Co.As.It. Gold Coast Staff
Photo credit: Damian Caniglia, Multimedia Sauce


Photo credit: Damian Caniglia, Multimedia Sauce


Photo credit: Damian Caniglia, Multimedia Sauce

What have you learned from a recent experience?  Don’t forget to leave me a comment below with your experiences – I always love hearing from you.

Let’s Keep Sizzling!

Women Living Well After 50

Living Life Your Way

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  • Reply Lydia C. Lee June 18, 2018 at 07:07

    Augusten Burroughs says that you just need to focus on what the task is and you’ll be confident (because by truly focusing, you’ll not hear the nervous voice chipping away at your confidence.). So that’s a little like your passion bring confidence…good tips.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 18, 2018 at 07:59

      Public speaking isn’t easy Lydia as we are always so critical of ourselves. I think it was good for me not to have the notes for the Fashion Parade until the last moment as I didn’t have time to stress about what to say and just had to go with the flow. xx

    • Reply Heather Erickson June 20, 2018 at 09:35

      That is excellent advice, Lydia! Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply Natalie June 18, 2018 at 07:30

    Hi Sue, Congratulations on your successful guest speaking engagement! Thanks for sharing this post and your speech, both are full of wisdom and enthusiasm. I agreed with all five points that you spoke about in your speech. I try to incorporate them in my day-to-day living. You look great in the photos. I foresee more speaking engagements coming your way. Have a fabulous week!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 18, 2018 at 07:57

      Hi Natalie! Thank you for your kind words and I do think my speech resonates with many Women Over 50. We all have something to offer and making sure that we retire from work but not life is very important. I did quite enjoy the experience so who knows perhaps there may be more. Have a wonderful week and thanks for stopping by xx

  • Reply Ingrid June 18, 2018 at 08:25

    I find public speaking intimidating so I admire people like you that rise up to the challenge and do this especially seeing that you hadn’t promoted yourself to do this type of a gig! Congratulations!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 19, 2018 at 11:21

      Thanks, Ingrid it can be very intimidating but then I suppose it is comforting to know that most people feel that way. Have a great week and thanks for stopping by x

  • Reply Donna June 18, 2018 at 08:41

    Congratulations, Sue – You look both beautiful and confident up at that podium! I wish that I could have been there to hear your talk.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 19, 2018 at 11:22

      Thanks Donna! I don’t get to ‘dress up’ much these days so it was good to go to the extra effort. I wish I had a video of it now but then I would probably be picking myself to pieces LOL:) Perhaps I might get the courage to make a video and include it in the newsletter. xx

  • Reply Debbie June 18, 2018 at 14:22

    A great summary Sue! I’m so pleased to read of your enjoyment of the day and am not surprised by the lovely words they said about you. You look stylish and professional up there as you share your words of wisdom. Well done on a great accomplishment. I’m sure it will be the first of many such roles for you.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 19, 2018 at 11:25

      I was surprised at how much I did enjoy the experience, Deb, which was great as it is something I can always look back on with warm feelings. I don’t look ‘stylish’ very often these days so it was nice to dress up for the occasion. Thanks for you kind words of encouragement and who knows maybe I will have another opportunity. xx

  • Reply Leanne | crestingthehill June 18, 2018 at 14:42

    You are such an inspiration Sue – I would have loved to have been there to cheer you on. You looked so professional and relaxed and confident (and that is half the battle won before you even open your mouth to speak!) I’m so pleased it went well for you and hopefully it’s the first of many opportunities to come your way – is it too late for you to be hosting your own talkback show?

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 19, 2018 at 11:26

      Thanks my friend and it would have been lovely to share the experience with you. A talkback show? Hmmmmm… might need a Manager for that gig – would you like the job? 🙂

      • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au June 20, 2018 at 12:31

        Just letting you know that I’ll be sending my resume over to you for the floor manager postition when you start your new show – and I’ve shared this on my SM too for #MLSTL xx

        • Reply Sue Loncaric June 20, 2018 at 13:58

          No need for the resume, your experience precedes you. You’re Hired! 🙂

  • Reply Candi Randolph June 18, 2018 at 20:06

    I think you’ll be providing MC and speaker services often in the future! Although you practiced and rehearsed your speech (which is so important to do), you also have the ability to stand up and communicate what you think and how you feel. And, you looked great doing it, too…love the dress!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 19, 2018 at 11:29

      Thanks Candi! I did enjoy the experience and yes I would like to do it again in the future. The dress I wore to my stepson’s wedding a couple of years ago and I always receive positive comments when I wear it. I don’t make the opportunity to dress up as much these days but always feel good when I do. xx

  • Reply Christie Hawkes June 18, 2018 at 21:20

    Thanks for sharing your experience Sue and the lessons you learned. It definitely sounds like a win-win, you offered something of value to the ladies at the event, and you had a positive experience and perhaps found a new passion. Something I learned from the recent experience of getting on a bicycle for the first time in decades is that I can do something even when I am afraid, and that falling down and being a little embarrassed isn’t fatal. 🙂

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 19, 2018 at 11:31

      Yes it certainly was a boost to my self-confidence Christie and it was good to be able to enjoy the experience. I can’t ride a bike even though I would love to learn. Perhaps that should be something I could do to step out of my comfort zone! x

  • Reply The Widow Badass June 19, 2018 at 00:37

    Sue, this is fantastic. I am grinning from ear to ear reading your post. I am sure you were amazing and I’m so glad you had a positive experience.
    I used to attend Toastmasters meetings quite a few years back, and I learned a lot about public speaking from them. You hit all the main points in your post.

    A couple of things from Toastmasters that especially worked well for me were to remember that the audience doesn’t know if you flubbed your speech or forgot something as you were the only one who knew ahead of time what you were going to say.

    The other is to remember that the audience wants you to succeed – they are your friend – and to use them if you get stuck, meaning ask them for help if you blank or lose your way. They generally love to participate.

    Way to go, girl!

    Rock on,


    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 19, 2018 at 11:35

      Hi Deb! Thanks for such a bright and positive comment. Also, the two points you mentioned are very helpful. We sometimes feel we have to be perfect, when in reality most people like to see that others are just as ‘normal’ and ‘vulnerable’ as they are. You are right about asking for help, this is a point I will take with me and who knows might have to use it if I ever do a speech again. Have a great day and thanks for stopping by to comment. xx

  • Reply Dr Sock June 19, 2018 at 03:29

    Sue, congratulations on your speech and MCing the event. It sounds like everything went really well, and that people enjoyed your talk.

    For me, the point that really stood out was your comment that after the fact you found that you had really enjoyed the experience of motivational speaking. Sometimes it is tempting to give in to fears and avoid things (and public speaking is a big fear for many people). But you had the courage to do it, and you did well and enjoyed it, and brought something of value to others, while growing yourself through the experience. Bravo!


    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 19, 2018 at 11:37

      Hi Jude, thanks so much for stopping by to comment. I know what you mean about avoiding opportunities because of fear. We all do this but if we do face our fear it is amazing how great you feel after you conquer it. I found a new experience that I enjoyed immensely and hope to have the opportunity to try it again. Have a great week and thanks again for the visit. x

  • Reply Victoria June 19, 2018 at 06:45

    I think having a small number of nerves when speaking does help keep you on your toes. My worst speaking experience was when I was overconfident so I ended up sounding unprepared. These are great tips, Sue.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 19, 2018 at 11:48

      Hi Victoria, yes sometimes being too confident isn’t a good thing is it? Glad you appreciated the tips as you have obviously spoken in public before. xx

  • Reply Pat June 19, 2018 at 10:08

    Congrats on a successful event!! This is a two-fer post too. Great tips on how to prepare and give a talk … and then the talk itself has wonderful points about living with an ageless attitude. And yeah, the dress is awesome too… you looked wonderful!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 19, 2018 at 12:02

      Hi Pat thanks so much for your kind words and glad that you thought is was a ‘two-fer’ post – I like the sound of that ! Have a great day 🙂

  • Reply Sydney Shop Girl June 19, 2018 at 10:33

    Well done, Sue and thanks for sharing your tips and tricks!

    SSG xxx

  • Reply Denyse June 19, 2018 at 14:57

    Sue I so see you here looking confident and with a wonderfully engaged look with your audience. You need to not only do more of this for you but for others. How very intuitive of the group who asked you to speak.

    You have a great presence and many stories to share that are of interest. Congratulations on doing the speech without reading it. I have to say I continued to ‘read’ my presentations at school. Bravo to you.

    Thank you for linking up for #lifethisweek. Next week’s optional prompt 26/52 is Thank a Teacher.


    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 20, 2018 at 05:37

      Hi Denyse, I would love to do more and may look at promoting this side of myself in the future. I was just thrilled to receive the request ‘out of the blue’. I still had my notes to refer to but I think because it was a subject I really believe in, the words came naturally to me. Have a beautiful day, Denyse xx

  • Reply Jennifer Jones June 19, 2018 at 21:28

    Thanks for sharing your public speaking experience. Im sure the lessons you learnt, would be strike a chord with many of us. I read your speech and found myself wishing I had heard you deliver it.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 20, 2018 at 05:39

      It was a great learning experience, Jen. I should have asked Rachel to video my presentation but at least I have the written speech to remember it by. Who knows maybe I will do one and next time. Have a beautiful day and thanks for visiting xx

  • Reply Miriam June 20, 2018 at 07:15

    Absolutely fabulous post Sue. You should be so proud of yourself and you truly are an advocate for the older woman living an active and full life. I’ve just finished skimming through your speech too and I loved it, all of it. Your nonna sounds exactly like my mum. Came out from Italy speaking not a word of English to marry my dad and carved out a wonderful life for herself. It’s wonderful to have role models and clearly you’re one yourself Sue. Hats off to you. xx ?

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 20, 2018 at 14:02

      Hi Miriam, thank you so much for your beautiful words and I’m glad you liked the speech. My goal is to inspire others to achieve their dreams. I’m only a normal person but we all have the ability to achieve whatever we want in life. If I can inspire others then that makes me feel proud and happy xx

      • Reply Miriam June 20, 2018 at 14:16

        I so agree with you Sue and I think you’re doing an amazing job. xx

  • Reply Karen Hume June 20, 2018 at 08:18

    Congratulations on such a successful first time gig as MC and speaker. I predict that this will just be the first time of many. News of accomplished and interesting speakers travels fast. #MLSTL

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 20, 2018 at 14:04

      We will see, Karen but I did learn much for the experience which is always a good thing! xx

  • Reply Heather Erickson June 20, 2018 at 09:39

    Congratulations on a job well-done, Sue! You look lovely in the pictures. I’m sure you wowed them.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 20, 2018 at 14:05

      Thanks so much Heather! I don’t get to ‘dress up’ much these days so it felt good xx

  • Reply Patrick Weseman June 20, 2018 at 12:10

    Congrats. That is so cool. I know that I couldn’t do it. Kudos to you #MLSTL

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 20, 2018 at 14:05

      I’m sure you good Patrick, especially if the topic was something you felt comfortable with. Have a great week!

  • Reply Cherie June 20, 2018 at 21:21

    Sounds like you came away a stronger more confident woman after this gig. Yay!!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 21, 2018 at 06:30

      I did actually, Cherie. Although it was a few days later that I realised how much more confident I had felt. It was certainly a positive experience for me. Have a beautiful day xx

  • Reply Jennifer June 21, 2018 at 10:20

    First off, you looked fabulous. I love that dress on you. Second, you really hit all the marks for preparing to give a speech. Some important things you did included practicing in front of others as well as giving a video of yourself to your husband. Great job.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 21, 2018 at 10:33

      Oh thank you Jennifer for your kind words and yes I love that dress too! The whole experience was fun so hopefully I may have another opportunity in the future. x

  • Reply Joanne Tracey June 21, 2018 at 17:12

    I’ve done a lot of public speaking with work, but had my first paid speaking gig at last years Romance Writer’s Conference. I was so nervous because everyone there had paid good money. Once I shook that from my brain I had a ball – the adrenaline rush was fab!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 21, 2018 at 17:28

      I agree Jo the adrenaline rush is great and I wanted to do it all over again when I had finished. x

  • Reply Jo June 21, 2018 at 17:48

    Well done Sue! You looked fabulous, and confident, and I would absolutely believe that you gave an inspiring speech. Onwards! I’ve given a few talks and presentations and never believed that I could or would. While they take up an enormous amount of pre-prep time and energy (for me), I’ve actually come to enjoy the actual ‘gigs’ – especially when people appear engaged and happy.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 22, 2018 at 07:53

      Thank you Jo! It is very satisfying when we rise to the challenge isn’t it? I might not get any more opportunities but at least I proved to myself that I could do it. Have a lovely weekend and enjoy! xx

  • Reply Kathy Marris June 21, 2018 at 21:29

    Sue what a wonderful opportunity and from what I know about you and having met you in person, I believe you would have been perfect for this role at this function. You do an incredible job inspiring the older generation on your blog and you have a lovely warm and friendly personality. You also looked absolutely beautiful in you lovely dress on the day. Congratulations! I think you’re fabulous! #TeamLovinLife

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 22, 2018 at 07:52

      You are so lovely Kathy and have made my day with your comments. I wish we lived closer so we could catch up on a regular basis. Have a beautiful day, my friend. xx

  • Reply Jacqui Murray June 22, 2018 at 01:09

    Being ‘over 60’ today is not what it was in my mother’s day. We can live 20-30 more years! Excellent points you’ve made here, Sue.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 22, 2018 at 07:45

      Hi Jacqui, I totally agree and isn’t it wonderful that our generation has really made the changes happen to live a happier life. Thanks for visiting and have a beautiful weekend xx

  • Reply Rebecca Forstadt Olkowski June 22, 2018 at 05:43

    Congratulations on your successful speech. I hope you will able to do more. It’s great to network and have a support system of successful women.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 22, 2018 at 07:43

      Thanks Rebecca, I do hope I can enjoy the experience again.

  • Reply Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit June 22, 2018 at 16:39

    Look at you go!! You look stunning by the way. Radiant. Speaker extraordinaire and gorgeous as well. Must have been the “believing in yourself” shining through. #teamlovinlife

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 23, 2018 at 05:39

      Oh you are too kind, Leanne. I don’t get to ‘dress up’ very often these days and it is amazing what makeup and a ‘frock’ can do for us! Enjoy your weekend x

  • Reply Deborah June 23, 2018 at 09:24

    I have to chair meetings and speak at things for work and was a diplomat and had to make speeches so am okay IF I know what I’m talking about. I struggle more if I’m not familiar with the topic or unprepared in that sense!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 23, 2018 at 11:58

      Oh I didn’t know you were a diplomat, Deb! I’m learning more about you each time you stop by to comment. Have a great weekend! xx

  • Reply Janis June 23, 2018 at 09:46

    Congratulations on overcoming your fears and “what-ifs?” and putting yourself out there! Public speaking is most people’s #1 fear and you did what was necessary to not only get through the event but SHINE! In my last job before I retired, I had to become better at public speaking. I found that, with a lot of practice and the encouragement of others, I was able to get over much of my anxiety (not all of it, of course… but enough to appear confident even if I wasn’t). You look terrific in the pictures and I’m sure this engagement won’t be your last. What a great skill to add to your resume!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 23, 2018 at 11:59

      Thanks Janis, we can certainly surprise ourselves when we try can’t we? Encouragement goes a long way to helping build self-esteem and yes I did practice for many hours so I felt prepared. Thanks for the compliment, I don’t get to dress up much these days. Have a beautiful weekend and enjoy! xx

  • Reply Pradeep June 24, 2018 at 03:42

    Hi Sue,
    A good post that will be useful for people who are headed in this direction.
    You are right, challenges like nervousness, can often be positive energy and can bring out the best in us.
    (Came here via MLSTL. Shared this post on social media.)
    — Pradeep | bpradeepnair.blogspot.com

  • Reply leslie roberts clingan June 24, 2018 at 06:47

    Yay you!!! So proud of you, sugar! You look confident and polished. I like your comment that nervousness can translate into positive energy. Even after 25 years teaching, I was still nervous when a class came to the library for a lesson. But my jitters often lead to my being more fun. And the kids related well to goofy, fun me. Glad your daughter (and Elliot) were there with you. Well done, girl!

  • Reply Michele June 27, 2018 at 21:39

    Congratulations Sue. This was a nice opportunity for you to grow and stretch and it certainly looks like you handled it very well. I would not be surprised if more similar experiences come your way once the word gets out. I have a speaking gig in mid July and I am excited about it. I have spoken hundreds of times on educational topics, but not on designing your midlife topic. I am anxious to see how it will turn out but looking forward to it!

  • Reply Adam O’Leary October 19, 2018 at 19:26

    Hello, I just found your site, and I thought you could be a perfect fit. We get speakers booked to talk at events, conferences, and keynotes and with content like yours, I know I can definitely help out. Do you mind if I send you some quick information, would love to be apart of you vision!

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