Hurrah! Not only am I done with school, but I’m done with my public speaking gigs for the time being!
My speeches all went well. My graduation speech was heralded the best, largely because I know how to keep it short, dang it. The longest introduction of the day ran about 4 minutes, most were in the 2-3 minute range. Mine was 30 seconds. This was especially appreciated by my fellow faculty members when we had to move the graduation ceremony indoors due to rain. Because we don’t have a space large enough for 300+ people, the decision was to hold two graduation ceremonies – one for A-K and one for the latter half of the alphabet. With every speaker going twice, my skill (and foresight) for brevity was showered with praise between the double ceremonies.
I’m especially fond of several of the students in this senior class, so I was particularly glad for the New York trip. It meant that I didn’t have to say any final good-byes to some of these kiddos, which softened the blow of the day.
My Sunday talk & lesson also went well. When my Bishop asked me to speak, he gave me the topic “Developing our Talent for Spirituality” (based on a 2001 talk by Carol B. Thomas). He suggested that I may have particular insight to offer, since I spend so much of my time at work identifying and developing talent.
That could have been an interesting take on it. So would have been my second idea – to look at the problems of comparing talents, using the Salieri/Mozart rivalry in Amadeus as my throughline example. However, when I sat down Saturday evening to really put my research and thoughts together, I wound up going in a completely different direction. I also wound up staying up until 3:45 AM writing the dang thing.
It doesn’t fit the genre of my typical (and preferred) talk. No real storytelling, infrequent humor. The comments have been positive, though. I think my animation as a speaker made up for the research-heavy text.
I was concerned about the balance of the meeting overall. I didn’t know which speaker I would be, nor did I know who else would be talking. I guessed correctly that I was the second (of three) and that I was the only woman. I fretted for a moment at giving a more “masculine” talk (i.e. cerebral v. emotional), but it turned out that the third speaker was a gentleman who tends towards the “feminine” style – i.e. lots of crying, stories about “sweet spirits,” and the moral delivered by a 4-year-old protagonist of his primary story.
So it all worked out in the end.
If you’re interested, you can access a pdf version of my talk here.