Talk Talk Talk: The Update

While I mentioned several speaking engagements in my last post, I thought that I should give a follow-up on the biggest of the bunch, the one that was at the heart of my 2011 goals and planning.

Being me, and being a teensy little bit Type A, I had pre-arranged my needs with the speaker coordinator: a projector (of course), but also a lanyard mic and a remote to advance my slides so that I wouldn’t be tethered to the podium. I got there early, skipping the keynote beforehand, so that I could have everything set up and ready to go when the attendees arrived.

Needless to say, the AV department had different ideas.

I managed to get things straightened out just in the nick of time, and kicked off my presentation on an adrenaline rush as the last 50 or so attendees rolled in. Within a minute, I had them laughing and knew that it was going to be smooth sailing from there.

At the end of the session, I hosted a Q&A. In recent years, I’ve noticed that “Q&A” is actually synonymous with “mass exodus.”  I lost a grand total of seven people during the Q&A – only seven! – and couldn’t have been more delighted.

I had a dozen attendees stick around to ask questions during the break after the session, and had one board member approach me to thank me for speaking and tell me that I’m a “rising star of the medical writing community.” Ok, maybe it was just a shameless ploy to stroke my ego and get me to speak again next year, but I think I’m ok with a little bit of ego stroking, thank you very much.

The one disorienting element of being the first speaker of the conference is that 250 people now knew me. For the next three days they approached me like we were old friends, even though I had no clue as to who they were. But I was very pleased to know that I seemed approachable enough that even in a large audience, each person seemed to feel like I was speaking to them directly.

In the three weeks since the conference, I’ve gotten emails and handwritten notes from attendees. “I’m still laughing at some of your slides,” one said. “Can I have your slide deck so I can do a summary for my chapter?” asked a chapter president. “You have such a way of telling a story,” said another. “It was a great way to kick off the conference.”

But the big coup came today when I was invited to speak at another conference based on my presentation. “I’d love to have you speak to this group,” she told me. “I think you’d be the perfect person for this conference.”

I’d say that this was the perfect way to check a 2011 goal off of my list.

How are you doing with your 2011 goals, and what do you have planned for 2012?


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