I recently made a presentation at the Pelican Bay Men’s Club in Naples, Fl. Most of the residents in this large upscale country club community are retired professionals and successful businessmen. I was invited to discuss stroke and to make a presentation about my recently published book, Stroke Victor. There were about sixty gentlemen in attendance and I spoke about stroke recovery and stroke rehabilitation for about forty minutes.
An interesting and funny story! I was invited to speak by a friend who is on the Men’s Club Speaker committee. At a preliminary meeting, he asked me if I was ready to do the talk. I capriciously answered that “I could speak about this subject in my sleep”. That comment freaked my friend out saying “I don’t want to be embarrassed. If you are doing it in your sleep, they will need cots”.
My comment turned out to be a brilliant thing to say. My friend Arnold, a successful retired broadcasting executive, and an expert communicator was motivated to coach me to be as sure that I would not embarrass him.
He has heard me speak one to one about my stroke recovery efforts but while supportive was quite dispassionate about the subject, having been fortunate enough to have never been touched by stroke. But he certainly knows how to speak quite eloquently, humorously and effectively. Listening to my story he noted that early in my stroke recovery phase I could not speak more than a few words. And though I have now recovered my voice, even publicly, which is a relatively recent phenomenon he knew that I was helped by integrative therapies.
So he suggested that I demonstrate the therapy during the speech and also suggested a dramatic way to start the presentation. Finally, he gave me some sage advice about staging the after stroke speech and how to handle questions and their timing. Great advice! I am very grateful for his suggestions which have made me a better communicator, both for this particular speech which went extraordinarily well, and for my future public speaking engagements.