Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Good bugs, 4-H, and how speaking can save thousands of dollars!

“Our Insect Allies” was my first speech in 4-H when I was eleven years old. It was absolutely terrifying. I was I was shaking so badly that my note cards kept scuffling by themselves. The whole point of the speech was to show how “good bugs” help the human race and to give me a little competitive experience. I was happy when the ordeal was finally over and I clocked in about three minutes total speaking time. Alas, the presentation paled in comparison to the other competitors that day. Penny, a girl that lived a few miles away on the same road, was a seasoned competitor and did a stellar job. As I recall Penny got 1st place in that competition. I don’t remember how I placed but the real win for me was getting over the fear of speaking at a young age.

As I reflect almost 40 years later, that first speech was one of the best things I ever did. I’m not doing much with other 4-H events like geology, models, or “share the fun” events, but I am speaking and leveraging that skill for financial benefits. The catalyst for my renewed speaking career in was when my children joined our high school speech team. I was so impressed at their training and what they were learning. It was amazing to see how hard they worked, how they improved, and to see them come home with state championships in both team and individual events. With this inspiration, I started to hone my speaking skills again and summoned the courage to submit presentations for organizations that I belong as a member.

So where does the financial savings come in? I have presented three times at an IT conference and each event I was selected to be faculty I was given a complimentary registration. That means my company saved $1700 dollars for each time I gave my presentation! Three years in a row presenting translates into over $5000 in savings. Faculty member status allows me to attend the full conference for around 40% of the budgeted cost.

What hidden talents and gifts do you have that you are not doing anything with? Make a list and start improving them. You may be surprised at your dormant skills that with practice could boost your confidence, increase your visibility, and enhance your career. I don’t think anyone but myself remembers my first speech, but I’ll never forget the benefits that little talk about bugs gave me.

What have you improved today?

Dan Lafever, Kaizeneer

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