Since childhood I have always been fascinated by great speakers because one of my family members was truly an inspiring and commanding figure on stage;
yet, at that time, for me, appearing on stage to speak, was close to terrifying.
This lasted until I realized much later, that something had to be done about
it, in order to become on stage, as great as my childhood's role model.
As a student I have had several opportunities to speak in public and the experience was to me, still quite intimidating.
One day, a conference was organized by my university students' club.
It was set in a hall with a stage where a panel discussion was about to
take place. During that panel discussion, CEO's of large companies were
invited to discuss the big topic of the day: "Investment In China".
Around 200 visitors to the conference were present.
For that event, I was assigned a role consisting in asking one question to the distinguished panel of CEO's.
When my turn came to ask the question, a microphone was handed over to me.
As I started to speak, I could not recognize my own voice which sent me
into an uncontrollable stress.
I think I mumbled something that finally seemed clear enough to one guest speaker who immediately rescued
my poor performance in providing to everyone's satisfaction a clear and
My job was done, I was off the hook !
Someone later, even said to me that the question was great.
I said : " Thank you, the answer was even better. "
The 2 lessons I drew from this incident :
1 - What we experience in public may not be seen by everyone
2 - Always rehearse what to say in public, even if it just consists in
ONE sentence, ONLY. Because the less we say, the greater it has to be.
I often quote this story to show how such innocuous incident can
regrettably make public speaking a lifelong prohibited zone for many