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Talk about your tough speaking engagements

Youth Specialties
September 9th, 2008

My dad just emailed me about a difficult speaking engagement that’s rapidly approaching. He got booked to fly to Anaheim and go deliver a keynote to a national organization working with ADHD kids. All of the people who will be attending recruit people to work with ADHD kids, but… get this… they are all ADD or ADHD themselves! Talk about your tough gigs! My worst speaking experience by far was an event I did on New Year’s Eve. The guy who booked me explained the event to me. “The gym will be full of kids we draw from local neighborhoods. They’ll be playing basketball, dodge ball, hanging out, eating, etc.” I asked, “Well, how are you going to pull them together for me to speak to them?” He was silent. He hadn’t even thought about it. I clarified, “You do realize that we don’t want to just stand up on stage and say, ‘Hey everybody… drop your dodge balls for a second, I want to tell you about Jesus!’” He agreed and I gave him suggestions of some fun up front activities and videos that would help him transition everyone into a seated position with their attention on stage. Fast forward to 11:28 New Year’s Eve. I’m on at 11:30. Kids are smattered around the room everywhere playing, talking, eating… fornicating… So I ask him. Are you ready to pull them all together. He nods quickly and runs up on stage. He grabs a mike and after a quick squeak of feedback, he says, “Hey everyone!” Three kids stop and look… 597 keep doing what they were doing. He tried again. “Hey everyone!” Nothing. He looks a little frustrated at this point. Then he looks at me… just like Judas did before he kissed Jesus. He lifts the mike up to his lips. “I want to introduce you to someone who’s going to speak to you this evening. You’re gonna love him. Let’s bring up our speaker, Jonathan McKee!!!!” What would you have done? Jonathan McKeeJonathan McKee will be teaching two seminars at the YS conventions this fall, including the workshop, Using 10-Minute Talks: Speaking to a Generation with a Short Attention Span. President of The Source for Youth Ministry, Jonathan is the author of numerous youth ministry books, including 10-Minute Talks, Do They Run When They See You Coming?, and the award winning Getting Students to Show Up. He speaks and trains at camps, conferences, and events across the U.S., and provides free resources for youth workers around the world on his Web site, TheSource4ym.com.

Youth Specialties

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