Advice?Here’s a guarantee: if you speak long enough, and I have, your laptop or theirs WILL bomb out. The AV WILL crash. Sometimes you WILL arrive without your luggage. You WILL find out that your program has been cut in half because some nitwit went over, and YOU have to make up the time. You WILL have to deal with people’s eating while you’re talking. This and much, much MUCH more WILL happen. Trick of the trade? Make it funny. Heres’ my fave example: years ago I landed in MN to do a speech first thing in the morning. Bag didn’t. I had nothing- no makeup, no comb, no deodorant. NOTHING. Neither did the hotel and all the stores were closed. I had a dirty sweater, stained jeans, and sneakers that that had seen much better days. Next morning I leapt on stage in front of 200+ well dressed execs, paused for effect, then said :

SOUTHWEST AIRLINES. YOUR BAGS FLY FREE. WE JUST DON’T KNOW WHERE THEY LAND!!!

People collapsed in hysterics. Three minutes later my computer died (I’m not making this up.) The audience thought I did it on purpose. I kept right on delivering while the AV brought it back up. By then I owned the crowd. Got three more gigs out of that.

MAKE IT FUNNY. It’s not about you. Is never about you. It’s about delivering value to the people who have given you their time and attention. Make it worth their while.

Written by

Horizon Huntress, prize-winning author, adventure traveler, boundary-pusher, wilder, veteran, aging vibrantly. I own my sh*t. Let’s play!

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