Water & marbles


I get asked to do a lot of talking, in addition to the speaking gigs. Here is the difference. I have delivered presentations on winning, culture, leadership and the growth mindset to hundreds of athletes over the last ten years, that is a speaking gig. I am standing in front of a group of people delivering a honed message. They know what’s coming, there is an expectation of a learning outcome. I am usually working to a time constraint and though the presentation will be tailored to the group, the message is predetermined.

A talking gig is similar but different. Yesterdays talking gig went for a little more than 4 hours. I was asked to provide my voice to help MC a fundraising event that went all day, I was to do the afternoon session 2pm till 6.30. Friends of mine will tell you I could talk underwater with a mouthful of marbles. But believe or not, I don’t want to talk about nothing, or rubbish. It’s true that talking for 270 minutes is not too daunting a task but I don’t want to sound like a goose or just tell baloney made up stories.

Yesterday as brave people abseiled down the side of a building in Sydney, 33 floors and 135 metres I was asked to provide a little commentary, a little colour, a little information. How would you go? Where would you start? I know a fair bit about the work of the charity so I was able to speak about that for a while. I had a crack at interviewing a few of the abseilers but most people don’t really get the whole microphone thing. So it ends up being a bit incoherent and jumbled, not exactly what I was trying to achieve.

So I went back to providing a monologue about fear, confronting your fear, facilitating life changing opportunities and all the other things the Sir David Martin Foundation do. The commentary needs to remain upbeat, slightly entertaining without trying to be the focus of the event. It’s a challenging role. So that’s the difference between a speaking gig and a talking gig. How would you go at either of those. Being a water and marbles kind of guy is no great claim to fame and it’s almost an embarrassment frankly, but I guess we all need to play to our strengths.

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