CHAMPION STRATEGIES – PUBLIC SPEAKING WORKSHOP – AUGUST 25, 2021
MYTHS ABOUT BEING A GOOD PUBLIC SPEAKER (PT.2)
Your Audience Won’t Necessarily See Your Fear Any More than You See the Fear in Other Speakers
I got nominated for a marketing award a few years ago. The organizer of the meeting thought that, since we were supposed to be the best marketers in the room, that the most fair way to choose the winner was to have each of us go on his stage and try to persuade the room to vote for us. When the organizer brought this up to me, I was honored. It also sounded like a lot of fun. So, I was really looking forward to the challenge. The day before the competition, I looked on the meeting agenda, and for the first time, I saw who the other speakers were. These were big-name guys who had been in the industry a long time. I started to get a little nervous.
As the time got closer to my presentation, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I was the only one of the nominees who specialized in public speaking fear. If I got on stage and looked as nervous as I was feeling… my career was over! Panic began to set in, and I started looking for some way to get out of this without embarrassing myself. (I couldn’t think of anything, though.)
The moment arrived. I was the third of six presenters. Each of us were seated at the front table in the auditorium. The first and second presenters were people that I had never heard of, but they both got up and did excellent jobs. While the second speaker was presenting, I looked to my right to see what my other nominees thought about the first two speakers, and I was surprised because I was the only one still sitting at the table. I frantically began scanning the room, and in the dark area, way off to the right, next to the accordion wall, were the other three speakers. They were each pacing back and forth. These professional speakers were each trying to go through their presentations one last time. They were nervous, and they were looking for some way to release that pent up nervousness.
All of the sudden, a calm came over me. I though, “Well, at least I’m not doing that.” I knew that I was prepared, and that I didn’t need to rush to the side of the room for last-minute cramming, because I wasn’t really that nervous, I knew I could give the presentation in my sleep. My true confidence came back. By the way, my presentation was pretty good, and the audience loved me. I didn’t win the competition, but looking at my competition, I’m okay with that. The big thing that I learned, though, was that even professional speakers who speak for a living get nervous. And when that nervousness hits them, the just prepare more. You can too.