I had a wonderful weekend at West Virginia University. On Friday I was a guest speaker for a presentation I gave in the rather large auditorium in the Health Sciences Building. It was both encouraging and inspirational to look out at the crowd and it was near capacity. The crowd of students and others in the medical field treated me well. I think I was able to offer them something in return. If nothing else, I kept them entertained.
I know they were interested because I didn’t see a single person look away from me. This was a big deal to me, when a student will lay down their smart phone like it doesn’t even exist. From what I’m told, it is a rare thing for them to ask questions, but that was not the case for me. Even rarer, I hear, is students clapping so enthusiastically at the end. The rarest of all? Students coming up to the speaker after class and showing their support.
Even as of today, Monday morning, I am getting emails of appreciation and support.
As I began my presentation I asked who had heard of what happened to my son. Nearly every hand went up. Nearly every one! It warmed my heart. I felt like hugging each one of them. It let me know that Ryan remains relevant at WVU and Morgantown.
I spoke for the full fifty minutes. I wish I could tell you exactly what I said — or a least give you a recap — but I was in the zone. I spoke without note cards and made no mental plan of what I might say. Fortunately, it was video taped by the school and a copy will be given to me. My daughter, Kari, also recorded it from an iPad. I’ll take a look at it today and see if you can hear me.
Either way, I’ll post the video soon enough.
I was invited to speak again. Even several times a year, if I could. My hope is now that I performed well at both WVU and Duke University that other speaking opportunities might arise. Turns out, I’m damned good at public speaking. It comes easy to me. The more I do it the better polished I expect to become too.
The reality is that the message is important and it’s not so much me. I get it. Actually, I want it that way. This isn’t about me.