Last weekend I got invited back to speak at another school camp by the Rainbow Dreams Trust. This camp was aimed at learners from the townships in and around Cape Town and was the annual gathering of the 4 groups that Rainbow Dreams Trust run during the school year.
Facing a group of 100 learners between the ages of 8 – 18 is very different than facing my most intimidating audiences (aged 4 – 6 years), but several of the same considerations need to be taken into account – how to explain certain key concepts that are fundamental to my message in age-appropriate terms, how to adjust my humour to fit an audience that is very diverse in terms of age and culture… and how to stop my guide dog from stealing the show!
Feedback I received from the camp counselors seemed to indicate that I succeeded in all these areas… well, perhaps the first two more effectively than the final one – and certainly there were enough questions to have filled double the time I had available, so I’m happy that I achieved what Rainbow Dreams Trust had asked me to do.
Here is a video taken from the presentation:
Whoever would have thought that they would get international media for simply doing what they love? Well, maybe some people might, but I certainly wouldn’t number myself amongst them! And yet, that is what happened…
And what wonderful exposure it was – an article about me in the toastmasters International magazine, that goes to 325000 Toastmasters in 135 countries around the globe.
This story starts many months ago. Back in January I was asked if I could be interviewed for the Southern African toastmasters website. I was honoured and excited to be asked –especially since the article was being written by Zoya Mabuto, the southern African speech champion for 2015/16
I had the opportunity of meeting Zoya just before she was announced as the Southern African champion and was immediately struck by her energy and passion.
Through the article I enjoyed getting to know Zoya a little better. She is passionate about our beautiful country and our diversity of people, and her message is often one of hope, which strongly resonates with me. I guess it’s no wonder that our half hour Skype interview lasted far longer than we had anticipated– we had sooo much to talk about! The article Zoya crafted captured exactly what I would have wished.
Both Zoya and I were excited when one of the Southern African PR Editorial Team suggested submitting the article to the toastmasters International magazine – and it was accepted. The article was published in the June 2016 issue of the Toastmasters magazine.
Here’s a link to the article. Member Achievements.pdf
Last week I attended my first ever TEDx event, at the most recent TEDx Table Mountain.
As a speaker I was fascinated by a number of things: the speech topics, the speaking styles and techniques used, and what the audience reacted most favourably to. As an inspirational speaker, I have been toying with the idea of developing a presentation that could be used at a TEDx event, so my fascination was not without a purpose.
Certain of the aspects of the TEDx process are very professionally done – I chatted to Aletta Rochat, one of the speech coaches for the event, and she told me a little about the process the coaches follow when working with the speakers. I found the resulting presentations interesting and derived several messages from what was said.
I was less impressed that the event went so far overtime. I understand that TEDx is not just about the speakers, but did not feel that all of “the extras” added value to the evening. I felt the lack of effective time management detracted from the professionalism. Nor was I the only one who felt that way – I observed a number of people leaving before the end.
Overall, I enjoyed the experience and will definitely do some research to find out when the next TEDx events are taking place in Cape Town, and what it takes to apply to speak.
Who knows, maybe one day it will be my turn to try and change the world at a TEDx event…
Below is a testimonial from the event organiser of the Tygerberg Hospital workshop I presented.
Lois Strachan addressed our community health workers at Tygerberg Hospital last week, and all of us were captivated by what she had to say. Not only is her story inspiring and deeply challenging, but she is also a humorous and eloquent public speaker. As a medical doctor I have listened to numerous speakers and lecturers, but I know that someone has made an impact when I retell their entire story to my husband and children, and when I am still thinking about what was said a week later! Lois really encouraged our community workers, who themselves face numerous and varied challenges on a daily basis. She reminded us to be grateful for what we do have, and also that nothing is impossible if your attitude is right. It is a real privilege to listen to Lois, and if you can get her to sing… you are in for a treat!
Dr Susan Purchase, HOPE Cape Town
If you’d like Lois to present at your conference or event, please contact her through her website www.loisstrachan.com for more information.
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!