I Have a Story For You: Musings of the Moodivator
I've already got my New Year’s Resolution. In 2010, I'm ramping up my speaking engagements. Need a keynote speaker, panellist, master of ceremonies, resident expert, workshop facilitator or opening act? Call me. I’ll be anything you need.
I'll talk to anyone about everything because I want my family to have an extra special Christmas next year. A Christmas they’ll always remember. A Christmas that my great-great grandkids will talk about.
Now, I'm not looking to charter a jet and fly my family to that tropical island owned by business tycoon Richard Branson. Nor do I plan to book a two-week stay at the Grand Floridian Resort in Disney World with the premium meal plan.
I've got a different dream. A dream of hosting the Mother Of All Christmas Games. My grandmother started this family tradition. After we spent all of 15 minutes eating a Christmas dinner that took my grandmother three days to prepare, she got her revenge by having us gather around a pile of wrapped gifts from the dollar store. She'd deal us a deck of cards. When she called your card, you picked a present. When the presents were all picked, you walked over and stole presents from one another. And that's when the kids would start crying and the grown-ups turned nasty.
To my grandmother, nothing said Christmas like fighting over a deceptively wrapped toilet plunger, a package of hair rollers or fruit-shaped fridge magnets. And those were the really good presents up for grabs in the Christmas game.
By hitting the speaker's circuit, I can skip the trip to Dollarama and amass a small mountain of similar yet slightly more upscale gifts. In the past few years, I've received travel mugs, coffee cups, road safety kits, reusable lunch bags, flashlights, pens, pen-flashlight combinations, t-shirts, golf shirts, ball caps, self-published books, a lawn chair, a clock radio paper weight and vinegar in a wine bottle. My favourite all-time gift is a single winter windshield wiper blade that I received after talking with a service club in early May. I was never invited back to get the second blade.
Author and self-proclaimed "moodivational" speaker Carole Bertuzzi Luciani can relate. Back in 1985, the Oakville resident spoke to a sales group from the Mary Kay Cosmetic Corporation. As a parting gift, she got a book on Mary Kay and an empty cosmetic case. On the way out, someone from the audience stopped Bertuzzi Luciani and told her she was a great public speaker and should charge money.
So Bertuzzi Luciani decided to do exactly that. The next request came from the Salvation Army, a group that she'd spoken to for the past three years. She worked up the courage and said she was now charging a speaker's fee. No problem, said the Salvation Army. We'll gladly pay a $15 honorarium. And so began CBL Presentations and speaking engagements across North America for slightly higher fees.
While she describes herself as a talker and not a writer, Bertuzzi Luciani`s put her life stories to paper.
There's the time she spun the wheel on Wintario and resisted the urge to laugh, when she ran in the Olympic Torch Relay and went on her annual volunteer adventures, that have taken her from a Catholic Mission in Belize to the YWCA dorm in downtown Hamilton.
She's drawn on 57 years of watching, listening and participating in life as it`s swirled around her. She says her father used to incessantly nag her and her brother with "if you just stop and pay attention, damn it, you just might learn something.
"So learn I did and continue to do," says Bertuzzi Luciani. "I`ve learned that stuff happens and it`s how you react to it that`s important. And I`ve learned that funny is everywhere. If you look for it, you`ll be sure to find it. It presents itself in a multitude of forms and situations. The key is to stop and recognize it for what it is."
If you're looking for a workplace resolution for 2010, here's one. Instead of inflicting death by PowerPoint or issuing all-staff missives that require a jargon-busting decoder ring, tell us a story instead. Make us laugh. Make us think. Make us pay attention and remember what you said. And if you've forgotten how to tell a good story, give yourself an early Christmas present and buy Bertuzzi Luciani's book.