Then There Was The Time I Was Publicly Humiliated For My Public Speaking Skills…

😳I want to tell you that this was a horror story from a middle school speech class or a high school competition. But this happened just a few years ago. 

I had *just* launched my keynote speaking and consulting company and was looking to level up my skills. So, I enrolled in an advanced emotional intelligence training designed to improve communication efficacy. 

I will spare you the details about this particular assignment, but here it is in a nutshell: we had to give a brief introduction (one minute or less) and get feedback from our group about how that introduction landed. My group had about 80 people in it. 

😎I used all the tools I had learned in over 20 years of public speaking. 

In less than a minute, I got the audience to laugh and think


🎤🎤🎤 MIC DROP. 

👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽 The group all gave me RAVING feedback. 

Then the trainer spoke up. She said these exact words. 

“That was some of the fakest 🤬🤬🤬🤬 I have ever seen. Don’t you DARE sell out on him like that?”

She had been an emotional intelligence and communication trainer longer than I had been alive. She could see right through my speaking mechanics and uncovered my intention. 

My intention: I wanted everyone in the room to like me. So I sacrificed authenticity for tools and strategized what to say to get others on my side. 

And it showed. 

It was a VERY painful moment for me. I had never been so harshly criticized for my speaking. 

But did you notice HER intention?

Her intention wasn’t to crush me. 

“Don’t you DARE sell out on him like that?”

She knew that I had floated by, using my mechanics to “hide” my intentions for years, and no one had ever dared to interrupt me and wake me up to the fact that I was being inauthentic when I got on stages because I wanted it to be about me, not the audience. 

That was a defining moment in my career and in my life. 

🎯I realized that no communication tools could replace the power of knowing myself, knowing my message, and having the courage to share that message with others. 

I realized that intention will always trump mechanics and that it is not about what you say; it is how you say it. 

And how you say it starts with your intention. 


Keep speaking up your story,



I have often resisted the title of “motivational speaker” for many reasons. Sometimes, that persona usually is associated with superficial content. That’s why I often refer to myself as an anti-motivational speaker. Find out why in this video.


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