Do You Believe in Magic?

Written by Pam Chambers Be first to comment on this post.

Are you old enough to remember the song “Do You Believe in Magic?” by the Lovin’ Spoonful? And, do you believe in magic? I do. I have come to see “coincidences” as magic. Here are three examples from my world of public speaking:

  1. As I’m telling a story, I’m desperately trying to remember the name of comedian Eddie Izzard because he is central to the story. Before even describing him (in an attempt to get help from the audience), a college student says, “Do you mean Eddie Izzard?” Magic.

2. I’m talking about what a speaker should do if someone unexpectedly enters the room. Right then, someone did. Everyone roared with laughter to the enormous consternation of the newcomer. Magic. (We did explain!)

3. I break a large group into five teams and tell them to come up with a topic to demonstrate how to use questions in their speaking. EACH group chose the topic of travel! Magic.

I think magic is essential for creating a sense of wonder and awe in how we fit into the world around us. Be receptive to it and you’ll experience it. You can’t plan these things at your computer two weeks before the event!

Who’s in Your Room?

Written by Pam Chambers Be first to comment on this post.

My former mentor, Stewart Emery, just published his latest book, Who’s in Your Room? The premise is that the quality of your life depends on who you allow into your “room.”

As a guest speaker at a company retreat, a college classroom, or a Rotary Club meeting, you will not have the ability to control who enters the room. The cast of characters may include: the know-it-all, the rummager, the device-addict, the nay-sayer, and a bunch of extras who just sit there.

You need a toolbox for managing these behaviors. Some tools, such as “Move toward the distraction,” will be used frequentlyperhaps every time you speak. I have a tool named “Halt!” which I’ve used only once, but I keep it in the toolbox just in case. (I used this tool when I noticed too many people leaving the auditorium in the middle of my talk. I wanted to stop them and find out why they were leaving. So I blocked the door, spread my arms and legs wide, and loudly said, “Halt! Why are people leaving? Someone help me out.” It turns out several had to attend a mandatory training session I hadn’t been told about. I held the door open for those people.)

Sometimes the people in your room want to be there. Sometimes they don’t. The quality of your life will be improved if you make space for everyone who ends up in your room. When viewed through the correct lens, even a heckler can provide golden opportunities. Who’s in your room?



Will This Ever Be Over?

Written by Pam Chambers Be first to comment on this post.

The speaker is captivating. You avidly take notes and agree with your neighbor that this is a great talk. You wish it could go on forever. But then it does.

Dont let this be you. Your popularity will plummet with each moment you steal. People dont want to walk out on you, and usually they wont. But they may conclude that you have lost track of time, didnt plan effectively, are in love with the sound of your voice, orworsedont respect their time.

There are several solutions: Set a timer within view. Ask for someone to give you a time signal. Pack your talk with room to spare. Be willing to dump content if necessary. But DO end on time, and be the last to leave the room in case people want to speak with you afterwards.