Develop a Thick Skin
In 1987, I had been a profes- sional speaker for 368 days, and had spoken to every Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, Kiwanis and association in town—for free. I ate so many chicken dinners, I
was starting to cluck! One of the chambers referred me to “Cypress Cove” for
a conference it was hosting.
When the phone rang, I wondered,
“Is my phone actually ringing?” The
call went like this:
Me: Thank you for calling the international headquarters of Melinda Brody
and Company. Melinda speaking.”
Caller: Hi, Melinda. I’m Kay from
Cypress Cove. I got your name from the
Chamber of Commerce and I want to
check your availability for an upcoming
Sounds good. What date do you have
We are looking at August 15. We need
someone to speak on goal setting.
Oh, of course. What type of
group is this? Is Cypress Cove
a hotel or timeshare?
We are a member of the American
I’m not familiar with that association.
It’s a nudist resort.
You are asking me to speak
at a nudist convention?
(Chuckling). It’s clothing optional.
Everyone will be dressed. Just wear
How ironic that we’re always told
that if you’re nervous when speaking,
just picture your audience naked. This
was a no-brainer!
We secured the time, topic, fee and
details. My then-boyfriend was excited
and offered to help me with the workbooks and set up.
“No, thanks. It’s clothing optional,
so they’ll all be dressed,” I spouted.
When I drove into the Cypress
Cove community on the morning of
my talk, I gasped. Everyone was com-pletly naked, except for the smiles they
were wearing on their faces. Nervously,
I found the dining room and Kay, the
event planner, was standing outside.
“Are you ready to go, Melinda?” I
nodded and walked into the room. Fifty
people were sitting there, all dressed
except for three guys in the front row
who were in their mid 60s to early
70s and completely naked—a sight
that would make anyone remove their
I motioned to Kay. “I thought you
said everyone would be dressed?”
“Oh, Steve, Bill and Mike didn’t get
the memo,” Kay said as she waved to
the trio. “Hey, guys, put your pants on!”
By this time, my heart was pounding
and my normal speaker fear had inten-
sified, realizing I had just gotten way
more up close and personal with my
audience than was necessary.
I faced my fear head on and began
the presentation. I was on a roll when
about 15 minutes in, I looked to the left
and there was a group right outside the
window playing nude. Trying not to let
that bother me, I continued.
After it was over, I thanked Kay and
raced out the door. Six months later,
I received a call that I was selected
to speak at the International Builders
Show Super Sales Rally.
How many people
in the audience?
We’re expecting about 2,000.
Will they be dressed?
Never mind, I’d be honored.
My speaking fears have been conquered forever. And that’s the naked
Melinda Brody evaluates and
trains salespeople in numerous
industries. Her firm,
mystery shopped over 10,000
salespeople and is a working lab of selling skills
in the real world. All Brody ever learned in
selling is from her daughter, master closer Sarah
Brody. Visit www.TheVideoShoppers.com.