If you have not read my professional Bio yet, stop here, take a break and go to the the About Me Page on this Blog. You will then understand more about me my background and have a bit of my professional history so you can understand this this real life story where I flailed horribly in front of a huge audience of people where I wanted them to give me millions of dollars to grow my company. Yeah. That is NO TIME to flail, crash or crater I assure you! Plus my Board of Directors were in full attendance, all 6 of them, to witness this event I will not forget the rest of my life.
September 22nd, 1991, Nashville, Tennessee. I am to speak to a group (room full) of investors to raise money to fund my company's growth and provide daily operating capital for small things like payroll, insurance, and other minor things. I would also include the term "potential investors" as well as some of the people in the audience had already invested thousands or maybe millions into my company. They were the to "check up on me". Find out how well the company was doing. Sales, the future. To test me. Feel my attitude, my resolve, my knowledge, and of course the safety of their money. Great.
So my time came and I got up on stage and began speaking for what was probably the 250th time I had given a similar talk in front of a large audience. Only this time, for some reason, I had a panic attack right about 1 minute into my speech. I am talking to the crowd and my mind is doing its best to sabotage my talk, my presentation, and now I think my life. The discussion going on in my head while I am "talking" was smattering s of "your crashing!" "Stop it"! "NOT NOW! NOT TODAY!", "You done, you wimp, goin' down!". Yep, it was that day.
Two minutes into the speech my legs were shaking so badly I thought I was going to fall! My mind is yelling at me..."Your gonna crash!". But I kept talking. Kept on delivering my prepared, practiced, rehearsed speech.
Twenty minutes later I asked the audience for questions. I knew everyone there saw me shudder and knew I tanked. Not stutter, but shudder, shake and truthfully, damn near crater, all live from Nashville! Believe it or not, people were so kind to me afterward, I actually used the crash to make new friends. Most knew I had done this type of speaking time and time again. So some people were having fun at my expense and some people were genuinely concerned.
The concerned people were the people that had money or going to put money in my company. The competition for money, or my peers were reveling and wallowing in my blood on the floor! Welcome to corporate America. If I had not practiced, rehearsed many times, memorized my speech, I would have been seen as a total schmuck! Instead I was "not on" that day and able to talk my way out of it...over time.
I did get help. I went to a psychiatrist for help. Yep, made my own appointment, went to see him and he told me some things that changed my life...forever. Never again have a flailed. Never again have I even worried about public speaking. I still do not fear it. And I can help you. Just stay tuned.
So speaking as someone who has been at the top of the corporate ladder, speaking in front of hundreds and thousands of people, and the same guy that still talks in front of small and large crowds. I know how cratering actually feels. And I know I can tell you many things that will help you defeat the fear of public speaking. In fact I am going to publish an eBook soon that will help you get rid of your fear of public speaking in 15 minutes. Yep. I can do that. 15 minutes. But that is the quick fix. Then you need a plan to relieve the fear of public speaking forever.
I sincerely want to help people overcome this fear so badly it is not funny. I also want to get my costs back, make an honest living and in doing so make sure everything I do to help people is affordable and meaningful...for a lifetime.
See you back her next week with more on this subject.