I am a serial entrepreneur, a “techie”, and an educator.
My background is in technology, and I spent years in IT. I’m going to totally “date” myself here but I started as a software developer in the late ‘90s, and within a few years started my first business, a web development company.
Since then, I’ve worked in the corporate world and built three more businesses.
As you're going to figure out pretty quickly, English is not my first language; I was born and grew up in the former USSR.
Which means if I can go on stage and captivate the audience, you have absolutely no excuse not to!
And I know all about excuses!
For years, I’ve avoided public speaking like the plague. Why? Because I thought I was scarred for life and would never in a million years stand in front of a microphone again...
...I'm standing behind a heavy velvet curtain, in the wings of a stage. I can see a portion of the audience, which from this angle looks like a pale, washed-out sea of faces.
My hands are ice cold and shaking, sweat is running down back, my heart is pounding, and I’m nauseous.
The lady who got me into this mess is on stage announcing my name and the poem I’m going to recite.
The poem I’ve never heard of until a few hours before. A poem that has about 10 stanzas. The poem I had to memorize in a few short hours. The poem I have to recite in front of nearly a thousand people.
I am 10 years old. I’m at a Russian summer camp (“pioneer camp” as they were called back then), where you comply with whatever you are told to do, no matter how crazy and unreasonable it sounds.
The lady turns towards me and nods. It’s my cue to step into the spotlight. I take the first step. My legs are shaking so badly I don’t even feel them anymore.
The lady walks off stage and I’m all by myself in front of a microphone, facing the abyss. My mind is racing to locate the first line of the poem. I can barely breathe. I can remember the first three words but not the rest of the first line.
I squeeze the first three words out hoping the rest will come to me.
My voice echoes through the microphone. I can hear it cracking. I feel like my voice is no longer mine, like part of it is forever lost somewhere inside the microphone.
Somehow, I finish the first line…and immediately realize I’ve said the wrong words. I am frantically searching my brain for the correct words. Another few seconds pass.
The abyss is getting darker and is closing in on me. My mind stops working entirely. I can’t get another word out.
Seconds pass. Giggles burst out here and there in the darkness in front of me. I can’t take this anymore.
I turn around and run back off stage, away from the laughing abyss, away from the microphone, away from the breathless terror of public speaking.
The lady looks at me sternly and goes back on stage. I hear her making a joke and announcing the next act. Everyone backstage is looking at me. I run outside, tears rushing down my face.
I know I will never be able to go back on stage again…ever!
I don’t know what your experience with public speaking is. It might have been as scarring and dramatic as mine, or you might have tried giving presentations and felt you could have done a lot better. Perhaps you’ve simply avoided it as much as you could.
Trust me, I get you. I sooooo get you! Been there, done that!
But you know what? Getting through that fear—through all the struggles and doubts and negative self-talk—and mastering courage to step into that stage is so worth it!
There’s no high like the high of stepping into the spotlight and knowing that you are about to build this amazing intimate connection with your audience. That you are able to move them, to impact them, to engage with them, and to persuade them.
You have the power within you to be brilliant. Don’t ever forget that!
You are dazzling and amazing! You are enough! You just have to reach out for it and bring it to the surface!
Random Fun Facts About Me:
I own Nutty Scientists of Houston, the #1 franchise out of all Nutty Scientists franchises in US. My goal is to inspire kids to fall in love with science. Houston kids know me as Professor Proton… because I’m positive 😊
- I hold a Master’s in Computer Science and am currently finishing a second Master’s in Communication and Media Technologies. I love formal education a little too much, but as Mark Twain once said, “I have never let schooling interfere with my learning.”
- I’m a techie through and through, both in the corporate world and as an entrepreneur. I’ve held every position imaginable in the technical field, from software developer to business analyst to project manager to applications team manager to Vice President of Operations to owning a web development company.
I’ve recently taken on epee fencing, and consider it by far the greatest sport ever. I’ve been trading adrenalin for bruises.
I don’t know how to ride a bike…like for real. I mean, I do know how to ride it, but I fall off it. There is clearly no love between bikes and I. But ever being a problem solver, I worked around it by getting myself a trike. Yes, I ride a trike!
My favorite online personality (and the entrepreneur that I’m dying to meet in person) is Gary Vaynerchuk. Love that guy so much! So raw, no-BS, intense, brilliant, and authentic!
The Official Bio (a.k.a Me in a Nutshell):
Victoria Lioznyansky is a serial entrepreneur and experienced educator who teaches other entrepreneurs how to overcome their public speaking anxiety and transform into confident, compelling, and captivating speakers. After moving to the US two decades ago with limited English and crippling fear of public speaking, Victoria built several businesses, taught in a variety of industries, and spoke in front of audiences ranging from 10 to 500 people. She appeared on Fox News, and has been featured in numerous publications, including CBS Houston and BizWest Media.
Victoria holds a Master of Science Degree in Computer Science and is currently completing a Master of Art Degree in Communications and Media Technologies. She also studied filmmaking and screenwriting, and produced a documentary about the Civil Rights era.
She lives in Houston with her husband and two sons.