Friday, November 20, 2015
Summarizing my fall season of yapping
“Try and do something each and every day that’ll ensure parking at your funeral is going to be a real bitch.”
That seems to be the consensus favorite line from my talks. I think people like it because it combines aspirational good deeds, profanity and the assurance the people who mourn you will be inconvenienced when you croak.
People tweet it during my talks and come up to me afterwards and comment on it’s pithiness.
No one has ever approached me afterwards and said, despite all the groan-worthy puns, they are feeling all pithed off.
I had a wonderful, confidence-surging run this fall with several high-profile, paying gigs that should lead to more higher-profile and better-paying gigs.
And you know what that means?
Ladies and gentleman, I’m buying.
Here’s a sampling of the gushy references that stemmed from some of these talks to state-wide organizations:
• “We were so sure our membership was going to love Chris, we themed our entire fall conference after “Use All The Crayons!” He’s one of those rare speakers who combines humor with humanity.”
• ”Business people today often take life’s challenges way too seriously and forget the importance of stopping to enjoy each day. Chris brings a delightful perspective that highlights what’s really important in every life. 100 percent of our responding attendees rated Chris’s “Use All The Crayons!” presentation either ‘very good’ or ‘excellent.’ You can’t do much better than that.”
• “Chris was a huge hit at our closing luncheon! He had our 250 associates laughing out loud and nodding with agreement regarding his insights about life and how it should be lived. His talk was both humorous but thought-provoking as well — the perfect ending for our annual conference!”
Something tells me parking at my funeral is going to be a real bitch.
I just hope they’re not all loan sharks.
Another line I use:
“Anyone who says he is his own worst critic is either single or pathologically delusional.”
It’s untrue. I am my own worst critic.
This was reinforced Wednesday morning at my keynote to Pennsylvania meeting planners.
I thought it went terribly. Many people told me otherwise.
They were mistaken.
It started off badly when no one could hear me. First impressions are huge, of course, and I’d muffed mine.
Plus, these were people who evaluate and court all the top speakers. It was a breakfast meeting so they were, I was told, grouchy.
And many of the jokes I tell to rein in an audience require engaged thoughtfulness.
So I’m off to a bad start.
I felt flop sweat developing.
Then I fall prey to one of the worst rookie mistakes by any author who’s out to speak about his or her book.
I lost my book!
It was incredible. At one point, I use a jumbo poster of the book cover as part of a joke involving the book’s actual size.
This time I happened to set the poster right in front of the bag that had the book.
So later when I turned around to read an entertaining passage from the book about the awkwardness of men telling other men, “I love you,” I can’t find the damn book. It was like I’d played a brilliant magic trick on myself.
What’d I do?
I didn’t panic.
I pressed on.
And it went fine. Sure, it could have gone better and, truly, I am becoming accustomed to it going fantastic.
But it didn’t go bad and afterwards many people came up and thanked me.
I know it could have gone much better and been much more impactful, but those who were hearing me for the first time were satisfied.
That to me is a real step forward. Plus, my delivery is at a point where I rarely refer to notes.
Again, I’ve gone in one year from speaking before nine Butler Rotarians to successfully keynoting state-wide associations so I’m very excited about the trajectory.
I’ll conclude by sharing another steadfast line I use in each and every speech.
I do so because I believe these 10 words, if applied properly, can benefit every single human interaction throughout each of our entire lives.
I advise you to print this out and put the words someplace you’ll see them every day.
“Learn the fine art of knowing precisely when to quit.”
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