Tag Archives:

public speaking

It’s Great to Be Here!

This week, I had a great conversation with a director of a speakers bureau about joining its roster. Public speaking is an excellent way to raise my profile and increase my chances of getting published.

TimeOut Chocolate Bar Launch – 1998

I have come a long way from my grade eight speech on sharks when I froze half-way through my talk. I became paralyzed when I realized that thirty classmates were staring at me. I stopped breathing, which made my voice sound higher than it already was. Panicked, I squeezed my shark’s jaw prop until one of the teeth punctured my skin. I looked through watery eyes at my teacher who gave me a “keep going” look. Somehow I regained the ability to take in air and got through the rest of my presentation. I did not like public speaking. 

Commercial Training Program – 2006

In the mid-90s, I accepted a job that required excellent public speaking skills. The role description noted that sixty percent of the time would be spent facilitating training or keynote speaking. Not much had changed since my ‘shark tank’ experience but it was an exciting opportunity. 

My first seminar on customer service was painful although my breathing was surprisingly good. Like most things, challenges get easier with experience and I started enjoying being in front of crowds. It became fun – especially when people laughed at my jokes, exhausting and rewarding. Eventually, I was more comfortable in front of large groups than I was off-stage.

Change Speaking Engagement – 2012

Since then, public speaking has been a staple of my career and something I still enjoy. I am looking forward to regularly speaking  to groups, as long as I don’t have to talk about sharks.


Loving My Public Speaking Boot Camp!

It feels like I have joined a public speaking boot camp. This week’s workout was at a high school where I spoke with 100 students and teachers over two sessions. The topic was my life’s timeline and the lessons learned along the way. For fifteen and sixteen year olds, this had the potential of being boring, or worse, sleep inducing, so I added lots of excitement: a costume change, candy rewards (Kraft/Cadbury brands of course), high-kicks, and brutally honest stories (and the emotions behind them). It was a lot of fun and they seemed engaged by the good and bad decisions I made. 
It felt strange sharing my life with an audience. Although I prefer the present over the past, I had forgotten some of the experiences that have made me who I am. My lessons learned are:

– Believe in yourself – no one can do it for you
– Decide what you want in life and go for it
– Be good at something, anything – “The more I practice the    
  luckier I get”    
Keep your options open – be open to new things               
The more you do the more opportunities you find
Be referable – that’s how you get ahead
First impressions count
Be positive
– you don’t accomplish much when you are  
If something isn’t working, try a different approach
Ask for help
 (and give it too)
Don’t burn bridges
What goes around comes around

Like most public speaking talks, you learn from your audience
and I am still thinking of the students’ and teachers’ thoughtful 
questions. Now, how do I write a thank you note to 100 


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