Indu Navar: Facing your fears: fake it till you make it

When you are a young shy startup CEO, how do you face your fears of being in front of people? Here is how Indu Navar did it. She wrote herself a script, memorized it and became confident in telling her story.

Welcome to the School of Herring Boatside Chat #6 with Marten Mickos and Indu Navar, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, who has beaten the technology track since the first bubble in the founding team of legendary Healtheon (WebMD) of The New New Thing. She has founded, built, CEO’d and succesfully exited Serus Corporation, a Cloud Enterprise Application company. You can contact her on Twitter @indunavar

See also Indu on how to become a succesfull female entrepreneur


Marten: I am sitting here with Indu Navar.

Indu: I was a very shy person when I started the company. I was building a company for enterprise customers. That means I had to do a lot of presentations with a lot of people, and convince them that they need to buy my product. It was very uncomfortable for me to go in and talk about myself, and why I think I am that good that they should listen to me.

What I did was, shyness and this whole thing of I’m a five-ten people company and I’m going to these large companies, Cisco, and telling them why they don’t know something I know. And why they should buy my product, because I could solve their big problem. It was just very uncomfortable.

What I did was I would memorize my background and what I need to say. Then I didn’t even think about it. I would shake hands and say yes we’re starting the meeting.

I wouldn’t even know what I was saying for the first probably few minutes because I would just memorize my background, and why I think I’m right.

Then when I saw people with their guards down saying “oh tell me more.” Then I just became myself, and then we would have a conversation.

That worked for me to really become confident with my story. Confident in delivering my message.

Then when customers said “Yeah, you’re right.” Of course it didn’t happen overnight, it was a 3 to 6 months sale cycle. Then when they bought it I was like “Holy cow, they’re going to give me millions of dollars for this.” Then you can build on that. The confidence helped me get to the next level.

It’s always the first few steps you have to fake it until you make it attitude. Not too much. You have to be real and execute too. That was how I faced my fears of being in front of the people.


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