How would you like to get paid for your speeches? Frankly, I never have thought about it. Yet, this month I went to Israel to deliver four 1.5 hours lectures. To someone who still is not completely free of stuttering, this is a big accomplishment. It is a big accomplishment even for those who never have stuttered. So what lessons I have learned?
First of all, I agree with a wonderful Patricia Fripp that nobody get paid just because they are good at speaking. People pay for your expertise, for something that you happen to know and they need to learn. Taking this into account, an ability to deliver an engaging speech is a big plus.
I went to Israel to deliver talks about science in skin care – this is an area in which I am an expert. Long time ago my friend, Elena Hernandez and I started a Russian journal dedicated to cosmetic science. At this time in Russia there were plenty of newly founded cosmetic companies and very little understanding how all these modern cosmetic ingredients work. Armed with our medical and biological education and being able to read scientific papers in English, we were able to bring this knowledge to Russia. Now as a private consultant to cosmetic companies, I am still regarded as an expert on this subject.., at least in Russia.
Well, you may ask, what Israel and Russia have in common? I will say, “people”. I delivered my talks to a large audience of Russian-speaking cosmetologists – some of them came from Russia just to hear me speak and some came from Russia long time ago.
My main impression – Speaking is fun. The more I speak, the more I love it. Another thought – it would be even more fun have I prepared better. Don’t get me wrong – I prepared the material, and I prepared the slides, but I didn’t have enough time to really rehearse the speeches as I do with my 5-7 talks in Toastmasters. It is one thing to find 10-20 five to seven minutes intervals and another – to rehearse 6 hours worth of materials in less then two months, during which I had to deal with many other things. So here is something to remember – if you stutter or stuttered, make sure you will have time to rehearse. Delivered material that is tightly written and that rolls of the tongue is so much easier.
However, lesson two. If for some reason you (just like) weren’t able to invest in rehearsing – just let it go and have fun. When after an impressive stretch of free-flowing speech I would come to a stumbling point, I would joke about it or simply tell the audience – “Ok, now it is your time to talk, let’s see what points you can recall.” Or I would ask a question or do some activity. If I haven’t had all those years in Toastmasters and improvisation classes, I would certainly lose my coolness. So lesson three – don’t skip steps. Being invited to speak was flattering, however, it was all this preparatory work that made it so enjoyable.
All in all, I loved the experience. It was definitely a challenge, but what is life without challenges.