Male to Female

I was speaking at an event today in Central London, giving the one hour workshop version of my talk Putting the U in Humour. It’s aimed at people who speak from a podium who would like to use humor to put their message across more effectively.

I was the main speaker in the afternoon, with the morning session headlined by Rikki Arundel. Rikki is a founder member of the Professional Speakers Association. When she founded it, she was a man, and now she’s a woman. She gave a great talk on gender shift and how she gradually realised she had the mind of a woman but she was trapped in the body of a man.

It was a brilliantly honed talk. I particularly enjoyed the line, ‘it was easier to change the body of a man, than change the mind of a woman.’

Rikki gave a great tip to speakers, which I will be thinking over in my mind for the next few days. The British speaking market is dominated by celebrities. So she suggests all speakers should become celebrities. Now a celebrity by her definition is someone who is celebrated. So we have to work out what we are celebrated for and then market ourselves accordingly. I’m not sure what I’m celebrated for, but I’m going to find out. Any ideas from regular readers of this blog who have any ideas, please drop me a line. I think it’s going to be something to do with communicating with humour. I do seem to find things to laugh at in most situations.

On arrival at the event, there was a bit of a kerfuffle. Rikki’s presentation was on her laptop, but the lead to connect it to the projector was missing. There was a male to male data cable, but we needed a male to female. I was also relying on some pictures and slides in my talk, so it was not looking good. While delegates poked around in the cupboards in the seminar room, I decided to explore the identical room next door. In the corresponding cupboard I found exactly the lead we were looking for.

Rikki was delighted. Her keynote opening talk on Gender Shift had been saved because the lead I’d found was male to female!

My talk went down really well. I also ran a lunchtime surgery on using humour and met some fascinating people. Michael Dodd is an Australian TV journalist. He’s a very funny man, so I was surprised he’d signed up to see me. He certainly doesn’t need my help. But it was great to chat with him, and we talked about collaborating on some large media training events.

I also met a retired East End policeman who talks about murders and criminal cases from his days in the Met Police. He is carving out a career as an after dinner speaker and wondered if he should change his cockney accent. I told him to keep it just as it is. His voice is pure Stepney, and ideally suited to talking about old style London criminals.

Another person who booked to see me was also a former police officer. She acts out her story of days in CID and wanted tips on using humour. We workshopped a few stories and I think she’s going to be a great speaker.

I’m always amazed at how prepared speakers are to share their expertise with each other. With my background in the cut throat world of broadcasting, it’s lovely to be among fellow speakers who are always willing to help each other succeed.

Jem- Saturday Feb 13th 2010- London

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