Saturday, 12 November 2011

New shoes and no music!

Sometime last year I attended a networking event with Clive Gott called Bradford Now Here.

Once there I discovered that the manager, Gary Peacock, and I had been at sixth form together at Helsby High school many years ago and did geography 'A' level together. After that first event I went back with Clive a few times before his death in February.

Along with another speaker friend John Hotowka and Gary we decided that I would give my new keynote presentation at the November event on Monday 7th. I have my new logo - thanks to Paul at Leeds Graphic Designers and brand, thanks to Sammy at Ice Innovation.

With that in mind I had a shopping trip with stylist Nicky Valantine (website coming soon) who gave me ideas on what shapes and styles I would suit. Ladies, I recommend such an experience! Not only do you save time by trying on unsuitable outfits but having someone specifically focused on you is a real treat.

I finally got a bright orange dress, purple belt and high platform shoes! The dress isn't as shiny as it looks in the flash! My hairdresser and friend Paula from Genesis in Tadcaster did my hair for me - one less challenge!

The Midland hotel is a restored Victorian hotel and has beautiful decor. They know how to look after a speaker - a reserved, named space in the car park - a small touch but much appreciated. It is the only one I have even spoken at where as standard practice they make a hotel bedroom available for you to change in. A fantastic idea!

I confess I was rather more stressed than usual about this presentation! Why? I felt I was there because of Clive's death. All my other talks have been booked through my own reputation. Today I knew that many people were there who had known Clive and therefore were possibly expecting the same as he would have delivered. Whoa! I could almost hear Clive telling me off on several levels:-
  • 'What other people think is none of your business'.
  • 'How do you know that is what they will think?'
  • 'They are coming because they want to hear YOU'
  • 'Get up there girl and just do it!'
I normally have a lectern - there wasn't one.
I normally have a few points written down - nowhere to put them so just had to do it!
I normally would have worn shoes I was used to - they were straight out of the box.

We sorted the AV out about 30 minutes before the 50 people booked began to arrive. All was well. I was thrilled with my new PowerPoint template and the photos looked good.

People began to arrive and the ballroom filled up. I was delighted to see familiar faces and some new ones too with a mix of male and female.

Then minutes before I started the hotel laptop died! I always have mine just in case, so no problem - we just changed it over. John gave a fitting introduction. He has lost an amazing amount of weight in recent months and has a new keynote which was widely praised when he presented at the Professional Speaking Association convention recently.

Then I began. I told my story (as it is so far!) and was pleased with how the audience reacted.

I then say how grateful I am for what I have in my life and clicked the slide to start the song which sums up many feelings .... it didn't play properly! The sound channel wasn't was faulty and we couldn't hear the lyrics! Aaargh!

I just let my photographs roll on and then carried on.

If you were there here is the song with lyrics.

Sometimes 'stuff' happens. I continued with my learning points from my experiences to share with others.

I was pleased with the reaction of those who came to speak to me. One of the privileges of what I do is that by being so open about myself it gives others permission to share their situation with me. I was honoured by those who did so after this talk, and delighted I had helped them.

Regardless of my 'challenges' I was pleased to be asked by two attendees if I will speak at events for them - I just need to check the sound system!

So my learning points:-
  • As a speaker minimise 'stress' - shop in good time for a new outfit!
  • Sometimes a 'new challenge' becomes a BIG learning point - I reckon I neither need a lectern or notes - I CAN do it without!
  • I did check the AV before I spoke and had a back-up, but if it goes wrong ... just carry on!
Thank you John and Gary for your support; for those who came to Bradford on a winter teatime; to the staff at The Midland and to all those who have contributed to my story.

I received many messages from people who said they wanted to come but were unable to and asking when my next one will be.

Has anyone a London venue or Birmingham one who would be happy to host it in the New Year?

I will have worn my shoes in by then!

Elaine x

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nicky now has a new site at