Following a presentation I gave on Monday, I received the following e-mail from one of the delegates.
What a pleasure it was to meet you last night. Your talk captivated everyone and you certainly had their undivided attention!
You are a natural speaker, enthusiastic, optimistic, passionate and thoroughly inspiring! You have, no doubt, given us a lot to think about. Your humour is one great asset and I truly admire you.
Thanks once again for your brilliant talk!
Lots of love
As a speaker, it is sometimes difficult to see the impact that one’s presentations have on people, and receiving an e-mail like this is both wonderful… and humbling – at least, it is for me.
PS The part of the mail I took out was about a shared love of Golden Retrievers… and the trials associated with trying to keep them from becoming overweight – I didn’t think everyone needed to read that bit!
This afternoon I gave my presentation “Strength, Passion, Success” at the signal Hill rotary Club. As with the other Rotary clubs at which I’ve spoken recently, I was not paid for this presentation, though both I and Dawn Corin, who assisted me with transport and support, did receive a meal at the meeting. Many of my pro speaker friends have asked me what value I get out of speaking for no fee and I’ve given this question a great deal of thought over the past few weeks.
I want to make it quite clear that I do not intend speaking for free forever, that I will gladly accept paying gigs that come my way that suit my preferences. For now, however, I am gaining value from speaking at organisations like rotary and, linked to my illustrated children’s books the Adventures of Missy Mouse, schools and youth organisations like Brownies, for which I do not receive a fee. “Why?” you may ask…
There are several reasons:
- By simply speaking, I am raising my profile as a speaker, which will result in future paying gigs
- I am getting a chance to perfect my speech in front of an audience, so am improving my skills
- I am using the opportunity to change people’s perspective of what a person living with a disability can achieve
- I am building goodwill for organisations that are close to my heart, like casual Day and Toastmasters International.
Of these, the third is the one that gives my soul the greatest level of joy – each time I speak, I have the ability to raise people’s awareness of how those of us who are differently abled accomplish tasks, and give my audiences permission to ask questions that they might not usually do, for fear of offending those of us who are differently abled. It gives me a real sense of accomplishment each time someone comes over after I have spoken and shares with me how my presentation has inspired them and shifted their thinking about disability And that is just awesome!