Over the weekend I found myself in a coffee shop overlooking the sea at Kalk Bay enjoying a cappuccino and paper whilst waiting for my daughter to make her way along the Catwalk. The place was busy and I was seated at a long communal table. The pleasant gentleman on my left and I struck up a conversation – as one does when both reading awful headlines in the same newspaper.
He told me he was selling his house so I gave him one of my business cards, writing the name of a reputable agency on the back. He looked at it. “Oh my!” he said, staring at me with wide eyes …”Are you one of those people who can happily talk in front of a crowd?”
“Yes,” I replied, used to people being intrigued by my occupation. A story often follows, and this instance was no different: Now retired, it turns out he was a Project Manager in his working life and he told me The Story…..
There was this film project you see. An animated movie that he wanted to make. The story was written, and it was good. A short had been made, and it was great….the team was assembled and ready to go. All that was needed was funding. So he gathered together a group of potential investors to present the pitch. Some 25 people arrived at the meeting, ready and interested.
“I started the presentation,” he said, “and then I looked at them…..and it was as if time stopped. There I was – staring at them – and they were staring at me…” Clearly the recollection still moved him because there was a weighty pause before he continued.
“This one guy stood up. ‘So?!’ he said……. And I just said ‘I’m sorry’ – and I walked out.”
That’s right! After all that work and effort and enthusiasm this one fear caused him to abandon the project – The movie never got made. He laughed sheepishly and shrugged – It’s all history now, and yet I meet people almost every day who experience exactly the same phenomenon.
Faced with an audience they find themselves behaving like a deer caught in the headlights – paralysed and terrified……And what kills me is that it is completely unnecessary. What a phenomenal waste!!
Yes, some people are inherently more confident than others, but ANYONE can be taught the skills to present a message simply and effectively. We won’t all do it the same way – each Speaker has unique strengths and a style that is personal to them, but ANYONE can be taught how to do it with competence AND confidence – I promise!
The only thing worse than fear of public speaking is letting a fear of public speaking sabotage your career, dreams and ambitions.
You have nothing to lose. For heaven’s sake, contact me!