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Finding Inspiration in Charleston

Public speaking has never been my strong suit. Despite taking public speaking classes in both high school and college, I could never get past the paralyzing fear of standing in front of a group of people to present. 2 minutes, 20 minutes – it made no difference for me: each encounter was just as terrifying as the next.

Last Thursday, I spent over 45 minutes giving a presentation to around 100 business & marketing professionals, speaking about what I spend day in and day out doing: content. Talk about fear factor.

Where? Revolve Conference in Charleston, South Carolina.

Why? To share knowledge about how best to create and share content online.

How? Well, it’s beyond me really – all I can say is lots and lots of practice.

It started with a public speaking workshop at work. I’m always up for improving my weaknesses. The workshop turned into chatting about conferences. And then applying, because that’s the natural next step, no? A few months later, last July, I got the invitation from Revolve. It was a sign; I said yes.

I like to imagine that having something worthwhile to say and preparing for how to say it would make public speaking okay. That, at least, was my philosophy going in, and, while I can’t say I was at ease (or anywhere close to it) ahead of stepping up on stage, I was able to manage it without fainting. My delivery could have been better (I’m afraid to find out just how much better by watching the video). And I now know I should have narrowed my focus. But I got some good feedback from the audience. And I did it!

The rest of the conference was truly inspiring. There is so much cool stuff going on out there in the online realm, and I feel like those two days were my glimpse at the tip of the iceberg. Hopefully, I contributed something to that tip.

Oysters on King Street

Outside of the Hyatt Hotel’s walls was, of course, the charming city of Charleston with it’s uneven cobblestone sidewalks and tightly packed, historic houses. I only had time to explore King Street, the main shopping street, which was full of cozy restaurants and fun boutiques. Each one looked more inviting than the last. I could’ve wandered for hours with my camera.

What I did get to see made me love Charleston even more than I already do from my previous two (also short) visits. Pizzerias lit by glowing candelabras. Fancy tots served with parmesan and truffled aioli. Ice cream samples divvied out on tiny metal spoons. I tested Sweet Potato Eclair, but was happy with my decision of Brown Butter Almond Brittle. And the best biscuits I’ve ever had from Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit, shown here:

Callie's Hot Little Biscuit

I don’t recall ever entering so narrow an establishment – it’s actually an alley with walls built to enclose the space – and being so satisfied with the goods I took away. And at $5 for 3 biscuits, what’s not to love? I tried Country Ham, Cheese & Chive, and Cinnamon.

You’ve probably noticed a theme around food here, but when you don’t have much time, you have to keep your priorities in order – and food is the one that always wins.

Charleston, I’ve visited you three times, but each one has been so fleeting; maybe on my next trip, you won’t be such a tease and I can stay awhile. In the meantime, thank you, Revolve, for the honor of being one of your 32 speakers this year – it is an experience I truly appreciate. And who knows, perhaps I’ll be presenting again sometime soon?


  1. Maureen Dodd Maureen Dodd

    Always good to be challenged! And, it sounds like you were successful in presenting important information.


      Thanks, Mom!

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