Late last week, we flew back to London so I could deliver a keynote at the UnGagged London 2015 conference. It's a marketing/SEO conference, and after attending the first few sessions, it was pretty clear that the talk I was prepared to give was not the keynote I would be giving. In a room packed with experts who are deep in the trenches, who the hell was I to try and offer up something new. I didn't even like marketing!
So I threw out my presentation. Truth be told, I threw out my presentation and the other two outlines I'd provided as backup. All three of them were great, but none of them seemed right for the crowd.
Over the last few months, an idea had been percolating in my mind. I grabbed it, fleshed out an outline, bounced it off Sheila, fixed the glaring holes she pointed out, and went to work crafting an entirely new talk. I squeezed out time between sessions. I got up early. And stayed up late rehearsing. And suddenly, it was Monday morning.
Like most people who do keynotes, I'm always nervous right before my talk. While my higher functions are focused on the task at hand, the little asshole voice in my brain rushes to the front, seeding doubt. But I've done this enough to know to ignore that little bastard. And so I began.
The crowd of a hundred or so people seemed genuinely engaged, laughing at all the right points. I received several good questions after I was finished, and am in communications with a few parties who really liked what I had to say. But it was a very different talk from the rest of the content delivered at the conference. I took the classical keynote approach -- excite and/or incite the crowd, leaving them amped up for the rest of the day's activity. I usually go for the latter, but this time, I went for the former, edging towards an "inspirational" speech.
I recorded the audio and synched it with my slides in video form if you care to watch. And if you're looking for a motivation and inspirational speaker for your next event, apparently I can fit the bill!
Cheers from London!