"If you're not going to speak up, how is the world supposed to know you exist?"~Anonymous
Walt Grassl's Stand Up and Speak Up is a talk show for sharing the stories of people who have taken a series of small steps to overcome their fears and now lead new, more fulfulling lives. Are you afraid to take that first step towards a different life?
In 2006, If you had walked into my office and told me that I would ever perform stand-up comedy at the Hollywood Improv and the Flamingo in Las Vegas, I would have called security because there was a crazy person in my office. I was an introverted engineering manager with a fear of public speaking. One day, I was addressing my department of 100 design engineers -- my voice trembled, my hands and legs shook and my mind went blank. This happened numerous times in various settings. I had classic stagefright.
This deficiency came up during a performance review and it was suggested I join Toastmasters. 15 years before, I had heard about Toastmasters but chose not to take that first step. This time, I did ... but I only spoke 4 times in 16 months. But I signed up for humorous speaking bootcamp, hoping to find a break through. I could write the exercises but froze up on stage when asked to deliver a simple joke that I wrote. I was told try an open mic night ... that "once you get a few laughs, you won't be afraid". I initially thought, no way. But I took that next step when I heard about a stand-up class. I took the class and graduation was a performance at the Hollywood Improv. I was so scared before going on stage, but afterward I felt such a high. Conquering that fear made the fear of speaking smaller. I then spoke often and competed in speech contests every chance I got. Then I tried improv and sketch comedy.
In addition to sharing my stories, I will have guests from the speaking, improv and stand-up worlds. I will also have guests who were, at one time, held back by fear, but chose to face their fears and are now enjoying new careers or pastimes.