A bungled MVP presentation demonstrates a truth about storytelling. Also, I’m available for hire, Chevy. And you need me. Desperately.

As part of Speak Up, our Hartford-based storytelling organization, my wife and I teach storytelling and public speaking to large classes, small groups, and individual storytellers.


After watching the Chevrolet’s Rikk Wilde present Madison Bumgarner with the World Series MVP trophy, it’s clear that he could use our help.

It turns out that Chevy received far more attention for his bungled presentation. The video went viral and resulted in national coverage of the presentation and appearances for Wilde on late night shows like Letterman and Fallon.

But you don’ want to rely on a poor presentation going viral in order sell trucks.

I’d be happy to help. For a fee, of course.

This moment also illustrates something that I tell my Speak Up students all the time:

Nervousness is your friend. As long as you’re not so nervous that you can’t speak (which nearly happens to Wilde), nervousness can be endearing. It can make the audience instantly love you and want you to succeed. They root for you from your very first word.

Nervousness is a signal to an audience that you are one step away from being one of them. It could just as easily be you sitting in a seat, listening instead of speaking. That is a powerful connection that can serve a speaker well.

A storyteller who I greatly respect once told me that my greatest challenge in storytelling is my lack of nerves. “No one loves you when you start speaking,” he said. “You stand there like you own the place. So you have to have a great story every time.”

I think there’s some truth in that statement. I also think it’s why Rikk Wilde was so embraced by the American public. People could see themselves in Wilde. They presumed that they might perform similarly in the national spotlight. It made Wilde appear authentic and endearing.

In the end, it all worked out. Chevy got more press than it ever expected. They probably sold more trucks as a result.

This time.

But still, it would be nice for Chevy’s public figures to be able to speak easily and extemporaneously at times, too.

I’m waiting for you to call, Chevy. I’m ready to help.