Thursday, May 21, 2009

Maybe the Speaking Thing Will Work Out After All

After a promising start, my speaking business has pretty much stalled out. Here's the thing; there are thousands of parents out there with a story, and a vast majority of them want a book, want an appearance on Oprah, or want to be speakers. As I've said here and elsewhere, I don't have the narcissist quotient to pull any of this off. And the longer I'm kicking around in this space, the more I see how necessary it is to *be* some one.

That said, I am content to hang in my little backwater and continue doing what I do. Which is a little of this, a little of that.

Last Wednesday, one of the advocates hooked me as I walked into Task Force saying "We need a speaker! Our parent head bailed on us and didn't set anything up? Do you have any ideas?"

I opened my mouth to say....well, now, I'm not exactly sure what I was going to say because she kept talking. "YOU!" she shouted. "YOU can come talk! Do you want to?"

"Sure," I answered, thinking I could probably talk about a dozen or so things. "What do you need?"

"Oh, I don't know, you can talk about Variety..."

"Autism, inclusion, like that?" I asked. Well, the good news is that I could get paid, but not much. Better news was that some one was asking me to present. It was one of those things where I was in the right spot at the right time.

"Yeah sure," she waved dismissively. I realized she was just happy to have a warm body in the room. But that was fine with me. I had a gig.

So Tuesday found me running late in rush hour traffic in upper Montco, and MapQuest failed to supply me with a crucial turn. In a planned city, this is not fatal; more so however, in suburbia.

But in farmland? I was so screwed.

I broke down and pulled into a municipal parking lot and practically ran over a couple looking to vote (thank God for timing--any other night this would not have worked), rolled down my window and yelped "Can you tell me how to get to Lower Road?"

Thank God they could. I was there in 5 minutes.

Oh, did I mention that I left my contact's phone number on the dining room table?

Yeah, I was batting a round number.

So I rush in and was met at the door, instructed to take deep breaths, and informed that they would not be able to show the PowerPoint I had literally worked on all day to the audience.

BUT, they were able to print it out. I sighed with relief and let that go.

So, about a half hour late, I started my presentation to maybe a dozen or so people. I encouraged people to ask questions as they had them, and what happened was something wonderful. My hour-long presentation melded into an additional hour-long round table that I led about what people were doing with their kids, their accomplishments and achievements, and their visions for their kids.

It was a disastrous start, but a lovely finish.

And this email, in part, came from the organizer.

" Parents sent me several positive e-mails requesting you come again and talk for two to four hours. They loved your presentation. One parent asked if I could keep the crowd small again so that there is more interaction."

I think it went well. :)

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