Have you ever held a presentation on a stage in front of a dozen people? You know with spotlights like in a concert and you have to talk about something to inspire the audience etc. Something in line of today’s TED talks.
I once got an opportunity to talk at a business meeting. I was around 16 years young and it was the first time for me to talk in a big conference hall to a larger audience, inclusive managing directors, well-known business speakers and some corporation-own stars. My appearance on the stage was planned right after the lunch break and I can tell you: I was damn nervous and more nervous as the time was heading to this piece of… well, lunch break. Couldn’t even find the backstage door as soon it was about time to figure it out. However, after some minutes and help from my dad I found that hidden stealth-door, grinning at me with a big ‘BACKSTAGE’ paper on it. I was polite enough to smile back.
I opened the door and gone up the stairs to one more door. Behind that door the friendly organizer was awaiting me to shake hands. After some little introduction and small talk, he showed me the corridor that was leading to the stage and various stage monitors. Alongside he gave me several informative tips. The at that time managing director for the European market was also waiting at the backstage area, saw me and nodded with a highly respectful smile, guess he felt my nervous pain. I nodded back and the signal for the audience rang out to inform them about the end of the lunch break. As the hall got filled with the audience I was equipped with a wireless headset microphone, it is getting serious. The fitness girl was the first on stage to give the people a warm-up with some stretching exercises. Then like in a time-lapse: moderator on stage, music on, moderator calls me out, organizer gives me the go-on-stage shove, applause, music off spotlights on, I am on the stage looking into the darkness as I could only barely see the audience:
“Hi, I am Sebastian and… … yeah… … forgot my text, lol.”
Laughter. Damn. With trembling knees and a ultra-high pulse I completely forgot what I wanted to speak about. Anyway, I am somewhat of a smart-ass and thought this could happen, so the text was with me in a blue map.
“No problem… I have this amazing blue map with me here… with the text, ha!”
The people applauded again in order to motivate me as they felt my nervosity. I opened that mentioned map and moved it slowly in front of my head to hide myself. Silence. That silence took ages in my time and space feeling. Like a retarded idiot I began to read: “Hi, I am Sebastian…” but after the first line I was able to put away the map to speak fluent without any issues. It was fluent enough that some people thought it was a gag with my “forgot the text” thing. After my allowed 10 minutes speak time I was rewarded with an absolutely amazing standing ovation. I felt like a hero.
Well, you know, it was not directly the stuff I talked about that moved the audience but the emotion. The people felt with me, they saw my fight against myself the whole time and followed it with crossed fingers. It was the courage. The courage to stand there. The courage to speak. The courage to bring it to the end with a trembling start but with an amazing end. It was the transformation from a caterpillar to the butterfly.
To be successful you need courage to win the game against yourself. In my opinion it is one of the most important aspects in trading or whatever other area. There is one fundamental question coming into my mind now:
Are you brave enough to believe in yourself?
Do it. Take the first step and believe in yourself.
Well begun is half done. – Aristotle
At the same time it is sometimes not quite wise to go all out of yourself. Remember: Listen to your heart but avoid to forget your mind in the process.
Regards business and giving a good speech we can learn from this particular example that people love honesty and spontaneous behavior. If you ever have to give a speech I would recommend being honest with yourself and being brief. Try to combine your message with a personal story and if you think it’s difficult to talk about it, say it! Your audience will respect you even more. Take the time and read the article from Bear Grylls on how to give a speech. I enjoyed to read it as it’s very similar to my experiences.
In the end I am very thankful for the audience at that time. They gave me huge confidence for the future.