Video: Speaking at Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization 2008
October 23, 2008 · Print This Article
Speaking in front of 1,500 people can be a little scary. Especially when you’re about to pull your pants off and dance in front of them.
When I was 16, I ran for President of the Manatee High School Key Club, a community service organization. I got up to give my speech. My knees knocked. My hands shook. My voice faltered. I lost to Mark Pinto.
Going into college, I was still a nervous public speaker. I tried to imagine the audience in their underwear but that was just awkward and didn’t help at all.
I didn’t get over the fear until my 2nd year when I had to speak to 60 attendees at the UNC Entrepreneurship Club every Tuesday at 6:30pm.
Finally, I could speak to a group of college students without nerves.
But them came speaking to ‘old people.’ You know, those scary adult-people. I didn’t really get over that fear until early 2006. I spoke to 500 economic developers at the Southern Growth Policies Board Conference in New Orleans and then 400 professors and administrators in Orlando at the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship Educators.
In 2007, I ended up speaking in front of about 3,000 people over the course of many different events. In 2008, I spoke in front of 8,000.
But none larger than the speech on November 8, 2008.
I had already introduced Robert Kiyosaki to the group the day before–one of the great honors of my entrepreneurial life. His book Rich Dad’s Guide to Investing planted the seed in my mind and provided the path at 17 to “build a company and take it public.”
I had been the emcee of the conference along with Gerry Hills for the past two days. It was my 7th time at the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization conference. I knew my audience. I was them–just four years removed.
But it was still scary. 1500 people.
What if I messed up? What if I fell while running onto the stage? What if too many clothes came off while ripping my dress pants off to reveal track pants for the Soulja Boy dance? What if, what if?
After practicing “Finding The Purpose of Your Life in 6 Lessons” all the way through in front of Jenna and some amused caterers, I was fired up and ready to go.