I have done a lot of work during the past year to overcome a noticeable shaking that reared its ugly head whenever I had to speak in front of a crowd. I did the work with a truly visionary man named Joe Shirley. The process he guided me through was profoundly liberating, self-empowering, and mind-opening.
When I previously spoke in front of crowds, people used to ask me if I was nervous, but no, I didn’t feel nervous. I had no idea why I was shaking until I talked with Joe. Less than 15 minutes into our first session, I knew precisely why I was shaking, but I had no idea how to overcome it. Fortunately, Joe had some ideas. It was a long process for me, but well worth the time and effort.
After about eight months of work, I am now able to comfortably speak in front of groups of people, small and large, without shaking. Sometimes I shake a little afterwards, but even that is lessening with time.
I was a presenter at last weekend’s BizJam in Seattle, where I served on a marketing panel called the Marketing Smackdown. The event provided me with some much-needed practice at speaking to a crowd. The conversational Q & A format worked well for us all.
I would have gotten through the event without any shakes, but for one unfortunate accident on my way to the event. The shakes I got were not of the old type. These were from watching a car cut me off, swerve in front of mine, then spin 180 degrees out of control, and slam into the median. But it didn’t stop there. The car bounced off the median, spun 540 degrees into a split on the exit ramp, bounced off the other median, spun another 180 degrees, and slammed one final time into the median.
This happened directly in front of me, 20 minutes before I was due behind the microphone at BizJam. I had slowed my car down just enough to not be involved in the accident. Had I kept at speed, I would undoubtedly have been in a serious accident, as the spinning car was a huge, old boat of a car. I quickly looked around for a place to park to see if the driver was ok, but there was nowhere. I called 911, reported the accident location, drove to the venue, and walked into BizJam.
Prior to witnessing the accident at close range, I was a picture of calm. The shakes had not entered my body, much less my mind. About twenty minutes after the accident, my mind grasped the seriousness of the close call, and I could not hold my bottled water still to save my life. I made sure to keep my hand low, and hoped no one noticed. I settled into the room once the Marketing Smackdown got under way, and the shaking subsided. I forgot about it completely as we got into some good audience questions.
Kelly Hobkirk - teaching marketers how to harness strategy, goals, reality, and purpose to connect and do better work.
Kelly Hobkirk has been helping companies succeed in creative ways for nearly 25 years. His work has been featured in Time Magazine, and books by Rockport and Rotovision. Get exclusive articles when you sign up for his monthly newsletter.