Scary SEO, Damn Terrifying for Me


I’m pretty open about being an introverted person. I don’t however usually share just how much people in more than groups of two scare the ever lovin hell out of me. I have been known to come close to running out of gas because I’ll pass gas stations that are too crowded to me even to pay at the pump. Eddings Speaking at Scary SEO

So, it’s pretty bizarre that I would agree to be a speaker. There are studies that show fear of public speaking ranks up there with the fear of death for the majority of the population. When I first started my company I decided I would never speak at conferences. So when Dave Snyder sent me an email  telling asking me I was speaking at Scary SEO I hid under my desk for an hour.

I thought about it for a long time and decided I had months to prepare or change my mind. I knew Scary SEO would be a smaller conference and I wanted to see if I could speak in front of group. I really did think deep down I would probably back out of it when the time came. Months flew by and I have been busier than I ever have in my entire life. I have also been very sick for the last few weeks. Next thing I know it’s the week of Scary SEO, I had two choices. I could fake my own death or just go for it.

I ended up not being able to fly in until the middle of the first day of Scary SEO. Then the cab driver got lost and I had issues with checking in (big thanks to Samantha Snyder for helping with that like an angel from heaven above). I didn’t get to the actual conference until 20 minutes before the session I was on the panel started. This ended up being a blessing not giving me time to plot an escape out the door.

When it was my turn to speak, the walk up to the podium seemed like a life time journey. I was so busy celebrating in my head that I didn’t trip and fall down I almost forgot to start speaking. As I began and started talking about the first slide of my presentation I realized I was trembling like a tiny Chihuahua at the groomers. To my horror even my voice started to become shaky. I tried to remember to look up and out to the audience I was addressing. I did see some heads nodding in agreement with what I was saying, although I had no idea what I was saying. I truly have no idea what I said while I was up there other than “hi” and “thank you”. I have been told I did at least speak English. I did enjoy the Q&A part of the session. I love back and forth conversations about paid search.

I don’t know if I will ever speak at another conference but to me this was success. It doesn’t matter if I sucked and I bolted out of the room like a jack rabbit instead of working the room when my session was done. I did not back out, hide in the hotel room, throw up or faint in front of everyone. I conquered one of the biggest fears of my life. I want to thank Dave for having me as a speaker and everyone that even pretended to listen to me.

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20 Responses to “Scary SEO, Damn Terrifying for Me”

  1. Trisha Lyn Fawver on October 28th, 2008 12:34 pm

    I’m sure you did great! And yes, good job on the not throwing up part ;) That is certainly an accomplishment!

  2. Marty Martin on October 28th, 2008 12:44 pm

    Ah, it couldn’t have been that bad. I was able to overcome that fear myself a while back and it really is liberating. I think it happened right around the same time I lost my fear of roller coasters. I’m sure it helped picturing the attendees in their skives, or actually, maybe that was the source of the horror? ;)

    Good job for stepping outside your comfort zone either way.

  3. Kate Morris on October 28th, 2008 12:49 pm

    Dude, I don’t care how many times you do it, it’s still freaking scary! I am so sad I missed it but I will be watching imbroadcast.com for the video later. And no you can’t ban Dave from putting it up! ;)

    I know you did wonderfully, so many ppl were commenting on how freaking smart you are with paid search matters (not that I didn’t already know that).

    Here’s to the first terrifying speaking experience. I am not sure you’ll never have to do it again, but at least the first one is out of the way now. ;)

  4. Jack Leblond on October 28th, 2008 12:57 pm

    I heard somewhere that if you had a choice of giving the eulogy or being in the casket, most would choose the casket. You are not alone in your fear, but you overcame it – congrats.

    Wish I had been there to hear/see you.

  5. Manda on October 28th, 2008 1:07 pm

    “One ring to rule them all”.

  6. jimhedger on October 28th, 2008 1:30 pm

    Brandy,

    Am so glad you spoke at ScarySEO. You know your material and gave a good presentation.

    The first time I spoke at a conference, I followed Mitch Joel, a Canadian marketing expert who is one of the best speakers on the circuit. As Mitch spoke, I started to shake as the fear of failure made every muscle twitch. I think I spoke at 60mph and with my accent am not certain anyone understood a word I said. To make matters worse, my parents were in the audience.

    As it turns out, the second time is far easier than the first and it only gets easier from there. Hope to see you speak again sometime.

  7. Loren Baker on October 28th, 2008 1:31 pm

    From the outside looking in, you were as cool as a cucumber, or an ice tray in my freezer, I did not have any idea you were this frightened.

    Can we get you at IM Spring Break if we supply complimentary Xanax?

  8. Joshua Sciarrino on October 28th, 2008 1:37 pm

    I absolutely love public speaking. Even though I haven’t spoke for anything search yet. Speaking is speaking, no matter the topic and I JUST LOVE IT. :D

    One thing I’d suggest, is Toastmasters (That link will help you find one in your area). It just a club of people from all walks of life, trying to get over the fear of public speaking.

    Aside from all that, I’m really surprised you were terrified about it because it didn’t sound like that! After hours, I heard you talking to someone that you were scared to death about it and honestly I couldn’t tell!

    You did a great job and I’m sure everyone got a lot out of it. Think of speaking like a skill/muscle, you won’t be a pro overnight but you can always continually improve each and everytime. :)

    I look forward to your next speaking engagement! :)

  9. jason murphy on October 28th, 2008 1:38 pm

    Brandy, you did absolutely awesome! For 3/5 of my team, SEM is very foreign. They all really enjoyed that session, and even the experienced guys picked up some good pointers. My only regret is that I didn’t get an opportunity to meet you and your team afterward to talk more about the process you go through with new campaigns. You have a ton of experience and it was evident. I really hope the IMB guys can get you to speak again at Spring Break, you rocked!

  10. paisley on October 28th, 2008 1:41 pm

    Brandy,
    I thought you had a ton of useful information in your power point, being a PPC n00b.. you did seem like you knew what you were talking about.

    i’d go slower for the stupid people like me.. but it was ScarySeo so i figured the advanced PPC people got it and i didn’t want to interupt..

    =)

  11. Joshua Sciarrino on October 28th, 2008 1:43 pm

    We all have fears like Kate said but over time it lessens (at least my experience).

    At least you didn’t really freak out like the first few times I spoke. Lol. It was horrible, I was demanded to get up and speak because I totally chickened out…. Then another time, I just stopped talking for like 30 seconds….then walked off the stage. :/

    The hand quivering, knees buckling. All that junk, lol, it’s funny when you look back but it’s a reality and happens to all of us. Just keep trying, it helps to do it alone (practice out loud) or with a friend you trust, even if you don’t go to toastmasters. :)

    Good luck with your speaking career.

  12. Jordan Kasteler on October 28th, 2008 1:45 pm

    Brandy,

    I can’t tell you enough how much I relate to this post. My first time speaking at SMX I wanted to just run out of the room and go home before I presented. It does get better.

    You did great!!! I didn’t even notice you were nervous. Thank you so much for presenting.

  13. Dana Lookadoo on October 28th, 2008 1:49 pm

    Super timing of your post. I am working on a summary of Scary SEO and reviewing the valuable notes I got from your presentation. No chaos!

    Thanks to you, I am going to implement a more systematic, and simpler, approach. I just recently started delving into PPC again after being away from it for 3 years. You empowered me, took away the fear. Thanks to your organized approach, it’s no longer scary!

    Heck, I didn’t even notice your voice was shaking. I was too busy typing away all the value you delivered. Great job!

  14. Scott Willoughby on October 28th, 2008 2:40 pm

    Brandy,

    You did a great job! Your presentation was really informative and your delivery was solid. I know you thought you talked too fast (since you mentioned it at the end), but I thought the pace was good.

    I feel your pain…Scary SEO was my first time speaking at a search event, too. Fortunately the people at the event were rad, and the smaller event size made it a little less nerve-wracking.

  15. Bette Coe on October 28th, 2008 4:07 pm

    Having read all the comments about your presentation, I would just like to say how proud I am of you. It’s terrific to see so many people that see how smart I’ve always known you were. – Mom

  16. Brian Carter on October 28th, 2008 7:00 pm

    Hey, it’s your co-presenter! I agree with everyone else on here, you did great. And as I said before we spoke, if you’re not nervous, you’re not going to do a good job. Your perception is really different when you’re the speaker- so you have to watch video to learn. You did a great job, and you’ll do even better next time.

    HEY Brandy makes a great PPC speaker… conferences listen up, and make her uncomfortable again, please!
    :-)

  17. David Temple on October 28th, 2008 8:28 pm

    Brandy,
    Congrats on taking on a fear and overcoming it in a big way. All the comments here prove the saying “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself”. But even more impressive is the fact you wrote about your fear and that may help someone else in your situation. Besides, being afraid at Scary SEO, now that is relevant.

  18. Andy Redfern on October 29th, 2008 1:54 am

    Interesting story and one we all can relate to!

    I particularly link the chaos that takes place in the moment running up to the event!

  19. Todd Mintz on October 29th, 2008 6:20 am

    “…
    I’m pretty open about being an introverted person”

    Awesome opening line to the post. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

  20. CJ Romberger on October 29th, 2008 8:03 am

    Found a link to this on twitter. I LOVE the crossed off word “telling”. Out loud laff on that one.

    Congrats on doing this, and from the sound of all your comments, it was of great value to others!

    The comment from Mom was great, too. Is that really your mom? Can I borrow her? I need a mom, and yours sounds very nice.

    I tell people who are afraid to speak to think for a minute about what happens to you when you’re in the audience, and someone on stage screws up, forgets what they’re supposed to say, trembles. I think audiences for the most part, lean in, root for the person, want to help them, feel empathy. Only the people you really don’t care about or want in your life would make fun of you or ruin you for screwing up on stage. So if you can imagine that all of those people in the audience WANT you to succeed and do well, maybe it won’t be so scary to talk to them?

    Congrats again, and I loved the post.

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