Marc Johnson – Marketing Assistant
Over the past year, there have been so many instances where I’ve been forcefully taken out of my comfort zone. Primarily in my professional life. What is it that I do, you ask? I work in the terrifying world of MARKETING… (woooooooo). Okay, it’s not that scary when you compare it to snake charming or skyscraper window cleaning. But, there are aspects of this job that make me want to crawl into the fetal position, rocking back and forth while humming quietly “The sun’ll come out tomorrow”. I’m mostly referring to public speaking. “According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that seem right? That means to the average person, if you have to go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.Jerry Seinfeld” .
I pride myself on being an extrovert. I love meeting new people, developing and cultivating relationships and the whole nine yards. With that mix of personality and love of my job; I never thought that public speaking would such a struggle.
It all began when my unrelenting compulsion to face new experiences head on got the best of me. “ I want you to be autonomous in planning events.” says my supervisor, Donna Smith. Fast forward a year and some change later, and I’m organizing events top-to-bottom, start-to-finish. One of the primary objectives at this job is to come up with creative avenues for my company to share cybersecurity information with current and potential customers. So, what better than beer and BBQ? However, in the planning of this epic event, I forgot that I would have to MC that day. Why God, why?
Picture it: July 13th, 2016, an anxiety-riddled Marketing Coordinator with a knack for stress sweats, getting ready to encapsulate his entire company in a few short sentences, in front of what felt like the entire state of New Jersey. The dimly lit brew house worked well as a less traditional presentation space. That being said, the casual environment also raised the stakes on making this a next-level event for me. When I got up in front of the crowd of 25 people, all the preparation that I’d done previously went right out the window. My note card became more of a security blanket rather than the speaking guide that it was intended to be. Once inclement nausea began to dissipate, the owner of the brewery told me that a hand full of the guests needed to move their cars because an 18-wheeler delivery truck needed to get out of the tight side street. This happened twice…cue more anxiety and stress sweats. All things considered, at the end of the event, I was told that I had done a great job. Pretty anti-climactic right? Normally in stories like this, someone falls flat on their face or has a life-altering moment which results in a career change. Not here. I conveyed all of the major points that I needed to, and the attendees had a great time. Pheww! As we drove back to New York, I started thinking: What about public speaking made me so uncomfortable? After talking with my team, we figured out that it’s the idea that my voice is the only thing filling the void. Another element is the lack of dialogue between the speaker and attendees.
Since this is such a major component of my job; I figure that I’d better get over this fear and soon. It’s my belief that the only way to turn fear into a tool is through preparation and more public speaking…repeat 100 million times. My parents taught me very early on, that just because you’re afraid of something doesn’t give you license to be a coward. In the short time that I’ve worked at iSECURE I’ve grown immensely. This is company has become a creative outlet for me to experiment without fear of failure. I suppose the major takeaway from this is; do things that scare you. They not only make what you do more dynamic personally and professionally.