As an inspirational speaker, it is all about trying to impact people’s lives without them realising that you are doing that – not forcing it down their neck, but being able to inspire them to make positive changes in their own lives with what I share with them.
Last week I was at the care awards giving a talk. The audience was all suited and booted and were patiently waiting for me to appear on the stage to speak to them. I was in the dusty and dingy room attached to the restaurant getting changed from my posh suit into my superhero costume.
When I was ready, I took a deep breath and thought ‘Right let’s do this’ before running out onto the stage. The superhero music started to play, and everyone was clapping – they must have thought ‘what on earth is this idiot doing?! I started to speak, and the energy and atmosphere in the room was so beautiful. As I continued to speak, I got to a story from when I was running across Canada.
I had felt quite lonely after a couple of weeks of running, and I spotted a house in the distance. I ran to it and knocked on the door. A lady answered and I introduced myself and said ‘I am running across Canada, is there any chance I could camp on your lawn? (In my head I was thinking PLEASE let me in!). The lady at the door must have thought I was completely mad and said, ‘no way, off you go’. I said I was sorry to disturb her and as I turned to leave, she said ‘Well who are you anyway?’ I told her my name and explained my run across Canada, and she went off into the house.
Five minutes later she came back out and said, ‘I have just Googled you and your running, and you are real!’ (At this point the audience ERUPTED into laughter!). The lady then let me set up my tent. I started to set it up then she came out of the house again and said to me ‘Stop setting up your tent-there is a motel nearby and a key there waiting for you and it’s all paid for’.
At this point, the audience all together went ‘AAAAAAWWWW’. It must have been the whole room it was so loud, and I looked up and said, ‘well I can tell from that response that you are al carers!’. It was a brilliant talk; it went down a storm and I even got a standing ovation!
After the talk was finished, I was signing copies of my books for the people there, and a lady came up to me who was the CEO of a large care organisation. She said to me can you sign this book to me. I said to her ‘of course I can’. She then went on to say ‘It actually isn’t for me – it is for my husband. He is going through a very challenging time at the moment and I think your book will really help him, but if you sign it to him, he will know that I am trying to force it on him. If it is signed to me, I can then just casually hand it over and he will just pick it up and read it.
That way we can make a difference to his life without him realising that we have done it.’
Being able to pass on stories and inspire people without them realising that you are doing it is a essential skill for an inspirational speaker, and like the husband of the lady who came to me to get the book signed, there are many people who could do with some inspiring words through difficult times.