Why I was super nervous about giving a talk in my native language

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As you may know, I grew up in Germany and moved to the United States at age 16. (More on that here.) And German is my native tongue, though today – 20-plus years after moving to the Midwest – I dream in English. Doing math in English took the longest to transition.

Most of my spoken and written communication happens in English nowadays. I skype with my family back in Germany typically once a week and in recent months have talked more in German with marketers in Germany. It’s been kind of cool to see my name and content pop up on German marketing blogs, too. Here’s one example:

It talks about my comparison of live video tools, which you can read here in English.

I’m super excited to head back to my hometown and give a quick talk on authentic storytelling soon. They asked me to give it in German and I accepted the challenge. It kind of freaks me out actually.

Despite speaking publicly all the time, I have never given a talk in German.

Can I do it? Yes. Will it be great and interactive? Yes! Will I likely use English sentence structure with German words at one point? Yes! Will I not remember some German words here and there? Likely!

If something I say in German doesn’t make sense we’ll just work through it. #life

Either way, it’ll be fine, fun and a learning experience. And afterall, it’s part of my story now. I’ll keep living it and maybe I’ll do some Periscopes or Facebook Lives in German to practice.

The fear of occasional failure should not and will not stop me from living my story. Live it, learn from it and share it. I’ll try to remember to post an update afterwards!



The event organizer actually shared this with attendees ahead of time and it was a nice conversation starter. It was harder to speak in German than English for sure, but overall we were able to have a nice discussion and people mentioned it was fine and informational!