When I started the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses course earlier this year, nobody told me I would have to give a 6 minute presentation on my business followed by a Q&A. When I found this out a couple of weeks before the presentation was scheduled, I was terrified. I’ve never stood up to present anything in my life. I avoid any kind of public speaking, whether it’s to a big group of friends or staff members, I will always find a way out of it. The presentation at the end of the GS10KSB course was a different matter entirely. I couldn’t get out of it. I joked that it would give others on the course an opportunity to diversify if they were to offer a service giving those averse to public speaking a means to deliver a great presentation. Unfortunately this wasn’t an option and I would have to do it.
I came up with a solution to get through the 6 minutes. I put together a VideoScribe, whiteboard style animated video together that outlined the business and with everything I had learned, where I would like to see it go. This went down better than I had hoped (although the popcorn my growth group handed out beforehand probably helped!). Where I came unstuck was the question and answer afterwards. I was terrified, I just froze, I was answering questions like a 12yr old would, although probably less articulate than most 12yr olds. I was so relieved when the time ran out, and to be honest, if you asked me what I was asked, I honestly don’t think I could tell you. I couldn’t get off the stage quickly enough. The experience was a blur and I was so disappointed with the way I handled it.
So what did I learn? Probably the most important lesson of the entire course. Public speaking is everything. You could have the best ideas, the best plans, but if you can’t stand up in front of a room, you won’t get far. I won’t get far. So I am going back to basics. My challenge to myself is to learn how to talk to a room full of human beings… Like I said earlier. Terrifying.
I’ll keep you posted!