Dr. Jason Cabler was another one of the FinCon Ignite ’13 speakers. I’m so glad that he agree to share his Ignite story here with us all. (I can’t tell you how happy it makes me that he was just as nervous as I was when I spoke!) Speaking in front of a group is really hard but Dr. Cabler got through it with the support and encouragement of the great audience – here is his story in his own words:
I decided to participate in FinCon Ignite last year because I wanted to get more experience with public speaking. Being an introvert by nature, public speaking has never been easy for me. It’s one of those things I know I can do well if I try, but convincing myself to just get up there and do it is the hardest part for me.
In fact, it was difficult for me to even sign up to do it, because I knew that once I made that commitment, there was no going back, and that was a scary thought.
A Closed Throat and Sweaty Pits
Normally I have no problem speaking to people one on one in my dental practice, or even in a small group setting. But being the center of attention at the front of a room full of people is a whole different ballgame. That’s when the throat starts closing up and the sweaty pits go into overdrive!
My first short experience with public speaking had been a total disaster. My wife and I were asked to greet visitors from the pulpit at our Sunday church service. I was so nervous that I forgot our pastor’s name! You can read more about that epic screw up here.
FinCon Ignite Was Totally Different
But since then I had gotten a little better and gained some experience by teaching my Celebrating Financial Freedom get out of debt course to members of our church.
However, FinCon Ignite was going to be totally different, and I knew it. I knew I’d be speaking to hundreds of people who were my peers in the blogging world, and that would be a lot harder than being a teacher to the home folks at my church.
Doing an Ignite presentation was an interesting experience because you have to time your speech with your slides, which auto advance every 15 seconds. If you’re not careful, it can get away from you very quickly!
So I practiced relentlessly to get my timing down and be very precise with my wording so I wouldn’t get lost in the presentation. Every time I practiced, there would always be one or two places where I would get stuck. That worried me a little, but I had practiced enough that I knew I could just pick things up at the next slide and go on.
Sweating Bullets and a Nervous Twitch
So the night of the presentations came, and the closer it got, the more nervous I became. You could have started a war with all the bullets I was sweating. If you could harness the energy in my left foot that was nervously bouncing up and down as I waited, you could have powered a small city for a day or two!
But the people at FinCon are so cool! I ended up seated next to Maria Nedeva, whom I’d never met before, and she was nice enough to help keep me calm while waiting my turn to speak.
When my time came, I was ready for action. I got a great start and was getting into a good rhythm, but then, on the 5th slide, I locked up!
The text on the slide didn’t match well with what I had planned on saying, so my brain just froze!
But I was confident, because I knew I had practiced enough that I could just pick it up on the next slide and still be ok. All the FinCon attendees were so gracious and cheered me on as my brain took a 15 second vacation!
I think that’s one of the best things there is about FinCon. You’re in a supportive atmosphere where people are willing to help, and want you to succeed.
It Was An A+ Experience
As the night came to a close, many of the attendees told me what a great job I did and commented on how inspiring my presentation was. Even the next day, several people approached me and complimented me on the presentation!
Overall, FinCon Ignite was an A+ experience for me. It helped me gain more public speaking experience, and boosted my confidence for future speaking opportunities. I would encourage all FinCon attendees to participate in Ignite this year, because I believe it’s an experience that’s well worth the effort!
Dr. Jason Cabler is a Christian personal finance blogger, author, and speaker. He teaches how to get out of debt and live a debt free lifestyle through his Celebrating Financial Freedom blog.