One afternoon I was making some calls to prospects. To my surprise, I got through to a System Chief Nursing Officer. I shared that I wanted to help her hospitals improve quality of care, patient safety, and reduce costs associated with medication errors. There was a pause. She said ‘Yes, lets meet.’ I almost dropped the phone. I had been working on this sales opportunity for months and she was someone I had dreamed of meeting with.
I worked with a team to prepare for the presentation. My Director of Sales, Key Accounts Manager and the VP of Sales. I was going to give an introduction and the team would present to the executive team of the hospital system – the Chief Nurse Officer, Controller, System Director of Quality, amongst others.
The days leading up to the presentation I felt a pit in my stomach. The day of the presentation, I felt sick. I had a secret. I was afraid of public speaking. The moment came to give my presentation introduction. I stood up in the board room with all the hospital executives and my leadership team sitting behind me. I felt like I was in the black hole. I think I said 3 sentences, and to this day I do not remember what I said! The introduction I had prepared was forgotten as I was overcome with fear. As I sat down, I looked at my boss, the director of sales, and his arms were crossed. I knew I blew it!
I was humiliated and angry with myself. But then something GREAT happened: I made a decision that day, it was time to kill my fear of public speaking. I joined Toastmasters 13 years ago. Thankfully not only did I overcome my fear of presenting, I made the sale of $5.9M. I attribute much of my success and self-confidence accelerated months later after making the decision to do something about my lack of confidence.
What I have learned about bringing confidence and value to people, teams, businesses, and the world from Og Mandino “The Greatest Salesman in the World:”
I will multiply my value a hundredfold
I will commit not the terrible crime of aiming too low.
I will always let my reach exceed my grasp.
I will never be content with my performance in the market.
I will always raise my goals as soon as they are attained.
And my top 5 tips for speaking and presenting:
• Prepare: Expect the best, prepare for the worst – this includes a tough audience, AV disasters, and anything that can take you out of your focus
• Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse! Research and evidence has shown the more prepared you are, the less likely it is you will be overtaken by your nerves!
• Speak louder and slower than you normally do in front of a group
• The power of the pause – pause instead of using ‘um, uh, ya know!’ Filler words take away from the power of your voice and message.
• Act on every opportunity to speak; volunteer, raise your hand, join Toastmasters! The more you speak, the better you will become.
I think of you as a success minded friend, and I am so excited and passionate about sharing my mission with you: to work with sales and success driven stars to crush their results so they can live a life of PEACE and leave a life of STRESS –to be the BEST version of THEMSELF!