Worcester breakfast club

Professor Ivor Tymchak

So. After Wetherby High School came the Birmingham Professional Speakers Association master-class group. The audience was made up entirely of experienced professional speakers. I delivered the original SatNav for the Soul® presentation verbatim including the slides I had shown at Wetherby plus some extra ones I had devised.

The feedback was disheartening and painful.

‘You talk about talent’, they said, ‘but where is your talent, your artistic skills?’

‘You talk about passion’, they said, ’so where is your passion, why do you constrict yourself with a straight jacket of memorised lines?’

It was not all one way though, the SatNav metaphors were absolutely brilliant, they said, why don’t you concentrate on them?

But their criticisms undermined the very foundation of my working model, namely, to learn a speech word for word. They were suggesting that I abandon this model and improvise. It seemed I had learned nothing from the Wetherby experience.

Afterwards I spoke with Clive Gott, a successful and experienced speaker, about the feedback I had received and about my doubts about the speaking model I had adopted. After much soul searching on my part Clive crystallised the experience by summarising that what the Birmingham audience had been asking of me was to be authentic, that was all, and by being authentic I could then connect with them.

This made a lot of sense and after I had finished speaking with Clive I felt a whole lot better about the next speaking engagement coming up which was the Worcester breakfast club. It was an unpaid gig and Clive convinced me that I had nothing to lose by throwing out the script and improvising.

The next few days saw a frantic preparation of new slides which showed my artwork and various creative avenues I had explored during my life. ‘Tell us your story’, the master-class group had advised, so I intended to.

Ten minutes before I was to deliver my speech to the breakfast club I felt surprisingly relaxed, even eager. I didn’t have to worry about forgetting my lines because I was going to make them up as I went along. And the collection of slides I had put together gave me confidence – even I was impressed with the array of creative ventures I had undertaken.

So the speech now contained all my triple A grade material distilled into thirty minutes. I had even plundered my other keynote speech, ‘Assume Nothing’ for its best bits. It all made sense though, nothing was gratuitous or arbitrary.

I felt pretty good as I finished my last line and sat down to my half empty cup of cold coffee to wait out the remaining minutes of the meeting. I felt good but not good enough to prepare me for the feedback from the well wishers who came up to congratulate me afterwards. I was astonished. Every single accolade was offered. A man introduced himself and said it was a pleasure to meet someone who knew how to use PowerPoint properly (boy, that felt good). Another said that he was already sitting up during my presentation but when my first slide came on of my own work he sat up even more (what a master stroke it was to follow the master-class advice). A couple of people asked if they could have a copy of one particular slide which was a caricature of me as a mad scientist concocting a distillate of creativity (see above).

Driving home I was higher than the moon. It felt like my speaking career had just experienced the orgasm of its conception and was on its journey of development into a fabulous creature that had its own glittering destiny ahead of it. Success is the most powerful aphrodisiac known to creativity. Today has seen an orgy of ideas that danced and mated with each other and produced offspring that will enhance and improve the presentation even further.

I kid you not, SatNav for the Soul® is now a killer presentation who’s time has come. Its message is pure crack cocaine to those people stuck in the senseless loop traffic around the Capitalist city of Consumerism.

I’m ready.

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