Then the snoring became unbearably loud. It was impossible for the audience to concentrate on what I wanted them to hear. Some of them couldn’t even hear me over the snoring.
Feeling distracted, I walked out into the group and laid my hand gently on the snoring member’s arm. He immediately jerked awake and looked around the room at all the smiling faces.
I leaned in close to him and asked, “Would you like to join the rest of us?”
Everyone, including the man who was snoring, had a good laugh.
That was the magic moment in which I became a professional speaker. I took control of the situation and I gained their respect because of the way I handled the instance.
From that moment on, I have never let my nervousness distract me from the purpose of inspiring and informing a group. When unforeseen situations occur, I work with them instead of resisting them.
Then somewhere along the tenth or twelfth time I delivered my twenty-minute “Incubator” presentation, I provoked thoughts of creating new businesses, who by themselves might struggle to get by financially for years. Yet in the Cluster, they achieved a 90% success ratio within the first 2 years. This success equated to their generating $2 million in sales and/or grew to the point of having ten employees.
Early on in my speaking career I was speaking at a Rotary Club in Berkeley where we were fed pasta, meat with gravy, and ice cream with a rich topping. At that time, I was not yet aware how quickly high carbohydrate meals turn to sugar. This will cause most people to experience sugar spikes and get incredibly tired. Fortunately, I barely ate a bite because I was too nervous.
When it was time to get up and talk about how the Rotary group in Berkeley could support the new incubator in Oakland, I noticed that at the second table back, a man in his mid-60’s sat with his arms crossed and he had his eyes closed. As I began to enlighten my audience, this gentleman began to snore. Most of the other members laughed softly, while still paying attention to my talk the best they could.