What Charlie Murphy Taught Me About Speaking In Public

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This man Charlie Murphy was it for me.

I watched him perform live at the Houston Improv, watched him kill it on the Chapelle show and read his book “The Making of a Stand Up Guy.”

And it was his book that made me fall madly in love with him, because he connected with my many struggles as a motivational speaker.

I remember when I had just started my speaking career around 2006. I left work early from Houston and drove 160 miles over to Austin to speak at an ASA (African Students Association) meeting … but that was my worst speech ever.

My slides did not work, my words did not connect, I found myself arguing with the audience to force my message and like 2 students literally walked out!

It was just terrible, I mean the presentation had to be cut short because it was that bad.

I remember driving back to my older brother’s apartment in Austin almost in tears.

When I got there he was just like “go to sleep, get up and do it again and again till you get better” and he went back to his work. No sob story or massaging feelings, just the truth.

And that truth made me the speaker I am today. But it never fully connected until I read how Charlie Murphy much like me got booed off the stage.

And then he called his brother Eddie Murphy at night because he got “booed” and just like my (well a little different) older brother, this is what Eddie Murphy said…

“Richard Pryor got booed off the stage. Bill Cosby got booed off the stage. Martin Lawrence got booed off the stage . . . So now I’m asking you. Who the f**k do you think you are, Charlie Murphy?”

That quote up there plays in my mind anytime I get nervous about taking the stages. But practically all the stars we know from Kevin Hart to David Letterman, have all gotten booed on the stage. But the secret is that they kept getting on the stage and that’s why they are where they are now.

And I just want to thank you Charlie Murphy for showing me that truth before you left. Rest in peace.

PS: Hope they serve pancakes up there in Heaven



Words by Okechukwu Ofili of ofilispeaks.com
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