What makes a good speaker? It’s a question I am often asked and my response is usually when the speaker talks with humour, honesty and integrity, and ensures the presentation is truly relevant to the audience.
A few weeks ago, for example, I had the opportunity to attend the Access to Success Conference. The caliber of the speakers was outstanding and it struck me that each had an important message to convey and each told their story with humour and honesty. It was wonderful just to laugh out loud – we don’t do it enough.
One of the most poignant stories was told by Alan Hobson who had successfully climbed Mount Everest on his third attempt. But it was his story of his second attempt that grabbed my attention.
This expedition had been thwarted because one of their team got into trouble and was in real danger of dying on the mountain. So everyone rallied round to save him. At one point he was alone, having collapsed and was just lying in the snow. The danger here was that he would just fall asleep, never to wake up.
The team struggled from a distance not knowing what to do when someone remembered that he was linked up by a walkie-talkie system to the US. It was the voices of his young daughters saying ‘Daddy wake up, we want you to come home ‘ that brought him to back to life and there was no doubt in anyone’s mind, that his daughters had saved him.
This speaker had everything – a story that made you want to laugh, cry and remember his message of focusing on what is important in life – be it raising your children, climbing a mountain or in his case, winning a battle with cancer. It was a story of courage.