I have 107 presentations scheduled between tonight and November 20th through my employer, People to People Student Ambassador Programs. These "Speaking Season" posts will be a travelogue of sorts, and I'll work to provide some interesting tidbits along the way.
I'm in Sioux Falls, South Dakota this week, giving two presentations in the evening at Augustana College. Tonight I spoke to a crowd of about 250 parents and students (middle school and high school), giving them the lowdown on what it means to be a student ambassador and what they'll be doing on program next year.
I am half motivational speaker, half informational speaker, and all salesman. It presents a unique challenge to motivate these students and their parents to sign up for a program of this type. It's an amazing opportunity, but also a fairly large investment of money and time.
We're all selling something, be it a product, service, idea, or ideology. The first sale is always to yourself, they say, and every time I hear student alumni come up and talk about their experiences I am sold over and over again.
Tonights learning moment: We fill delegations with about 40 students. Overflow can go with a delegation from another state. I suggested they sign up now and avoid going with students from Minnesota, in an attempt to show some humor and state pride. What I failed to do was look at a map - we are just 15 miles from Minnesota, and had a few students at the meeting from across the border. Oops. I played it for humor and asked if anyone was from Florida, and went with that instead, saying I just stuck my Super Deluxe Robot Foot in my mouth...
So - amateur mistake - know thy audience, followed by pro recovery - make fun of thyself.