Yesterday, Shelby published “Mental preparation to take the stage” and reading the blog post caused me to think about how I view our “She Said, He Said” live speaking events. As I sat and prepared mentally to write this post the following thoughts popped into my head:
- Unstructured, yet structured
- Last minute, yet planned out
- Pure unadulterated fun, except for that first time when she had a panic attack
The day my public speaking direction changed
In July of 2011, the direction of my public speaking took a sharp turn. Someday I might even decide if it was for better or worse. It was then that Shelby and I presented our first “She Said, He Said” live event. What happened that day reinforced what I had observed about a year earlier when I was part of a tag-team presentation at a printing industry conference. I’m a better presenter as part of a team.
It got me thinking about performing teams like Laurel & Hardy or the Three Stooges. Each member of those teams could hold their own on stage but, when you combined their personalities and talents, the sum was greater than the parts.
Enough about them, what about us?
As the business relationship with Shelby grew into team writing and then a Twitter chat, it became clear we had a conversational chemistry people found interesting. Okay, they think it’s funny too, but hey humor is not a bad way to share meaningful and useful information. (It’s not my fault I’m right more often than her).
I like to think of our style as a cross between improv and standup comedy. We script the broad topics but then let the conversations go where they may. Yes, we have a few PowerPoint slides to support our presentation but the meat of each presentation is notes on our cards and the thoughts in our heads.
Unstructured, last minute, pure unadulterated fun
We don’t shuffle through a deck of PowerPoint slides reading each one to you. Yet, weeks in advance we do know what our title and three main topic areas will be. For example, our WordPress Milwaukee presentation is about two weeks away and we are starting to build the framework for that talk. So there is some planning but we probably won’t write out our notecards until a day or two before the presentation. That’s why our presentations don’t seem scripted. They aren’t. Which brings me to the unadulterated fun part: I’ve never enjoyed being made fun of and put in my place more than when on stage with Shelby. Mostly because at the end of the day she ends up being right more than me.