One of my goals for this Remote Year is to host 1 public speaking workshop per city. 12 cities, 12 workshops. In LA, my workshops were called Communication Community.
On Remote Year, I’m calling it “Communicate Like Cousteau”. (RY3 code name = Cousteau) Jacques Cousteau was a true Renaissance man. A revolutionary scientist, explorer, filmmaker, conservationist, photographer, author, etc.
Remote Year 3 is comprised of 70 professionals from around the world, who are all incredibly bright, innovative and adventurous. We have artists, engineers, writers, photographers, entrepreneurs, etc. And, we are ALL explorers. Pioneers of the digital nomadic world.
Cousteau was also an orator who often gave speeches about his ground-breaking work and political views. I think Cousteau would be proud of us. And, I hope we honor his name.
Workshop #1: Cordoba, Incutex TechPub
In Córdoba, the first workshop was held on March 23rd, in the Incutex co-working space's conference room, the TechPub. We had 9 in total, and the theme of the night centered around the late, great actor, comedian, and philanthropist Robin Williams. There will never be another like him and I like to use him as an example of just how far you can push yourself in public speaking. He was a master.
We started off with some improv games, and for vocal warmups, we impersonated some of Robin's most famous movie quotes from Aladdin, Good Will Hunting and Good Morning Vietnam. "Bueeeeeenaaaaas noooooooches, Cooooooooordooooobaaaaaa!"
Members of the group got up and told short stories based on something they are passionate about. Super proud of these people for pushing themselves!
- Laura - Goal of traveling to all 50 states but the requirements are that she must stay over night and must do a cool event!
- Travis - Tried over 40 times to get the most epic zip line frisbee YouTube video but the alas, 2 golden opportunities were left on the table as the frisbee was dropped!
- Brecht - Was involved in the Belgium version of 'Boy Scouts' and has filled various leadership roles, including organizing fun activities where the kids would play baseball and get crazy dirty!
- Tanya - Reminisced about how delicious the fresh cucumbers from her garden back home are and how she can't wait to return and get back to her gardening!
- Eric - Talked about his love of mountain biking and going to the top of mountains in California so he could fly down the hills! He very much prefers downhill riding to uphill. ;]
- Kelly - Comes from a very active family and always needs to be doing something! She found her love for endurance running, and now has finished a 50k race! Very impressive!
- Patrick - Shared the story of how Turd Bird was born, and how he hosted a WrestleMania style cage match event in his friends' backyard!
And lastly, we had a keynote speech from Melissa, who shared a hilarious life story that was honest, relatable and inspirational. Melissa involved the audience in the speech and had us in stitches with her humorously daring topic!
Workshop #2: Buenos Aires, La Ninina
The 2nd workshop was a little more challenging to host. Our co-working offices didn't quite have the space for the type of event I wanted. I had to go outside the inner circle, which presented logistics and linguistic challenges!
La Ninina is a local cafe in the Palermo district of Buenos Aires and a favorite amongst my fellow travelers. They have a gorgeous 1st floor private room that screamed 'BOOK ME!!!' as soon as I saw it. There is a window overlooking the kitchen, which reflects a lot of light into the space and creates a comfy ambience.
For this second workshop, the group doubled in size. 18 total attendees. I think using EventBrite to track invitations AND having the event at such a cool venue helped to bolster the numbers. And, perhaps word got around that these events are actually fun?
The theme of the night centered around the late great musician: Prince, who was an incredibly talented musician who liked to take risks. While some of Prince's quotes are less than inspiring (See list) I really liked this one, as I feel it is very apropos to the fear of public speaking:
Prince: "The most important thing is to be true to yourself, but I also like danger. That's what's missing from pop music today. There's no excitement or mystery."
To warm up the audience, I had them alternate verses of famous Prince songs: Kiss and 1999, which was hilarious because none of us can hit the high notes like the legend himself! We then had an interactive discussion about the various ways to use our voices to enhance our speech. After the discussion, I invited audience members up to tell a short story. Following the stories, we had a brief critique of the storytellers, talking about both positive aspects of their stories, and offering a few areas for improvement. Here's a recap:
- Richard - Heartwarming story of cooking mac n cheese for his family, almost losing a finger in the process, and his mom’s home-cooked redemption.
- Arestia - Wowed the audience with a wonderful story of a documentary film she worked on featuring an Olympic equestrian rider and the stunning farm location they got to film on.
- Adam - Story of riding old, rickety motorbikes in Vietnam, and then having to hitch a ride in a chicken truck where they got pooped on.
- Sam - How she became a young firestarter, trying to burn a piece of paper for a school project and almost burning her house down while her father took a nap.
- Abby - Spoke about the preparation of her valedictorian speech for her high school graduation, and how she does NOT have a passion public speaking.
- Johnson - Suspenseful tale of being on a boat in Croatia with a girl and having to swim down to the bottom to rescue an anchor that got away!
- Miranda - Her story centered on her clumsiness while mountain biking with friends on a tiny children’s bike, swerving to avoid a boulder, busting open her head, and getting rocks implanted in her skin. OUCH!
- Tom - Giving a best man speech in Sri Lanka, and trying to be so cute by giving the first half of the speech in Sri Lankan, inadvertently insulting half the audience!
- Jonathan - Remembered the first time he had sex, and his mother somehow knowing that it happened, and asking him personal questions about it afterward! Hilarious.
- Kelly - Story about how she and her friends were mistakenly locked in a prison for 3 hours as college students! Girl has done HARD TIME.
- Mihai - A skiing adventure gone awry---the story of him driving 1.5 hours out of the way of their desired ski resort while his buddies were snoozing!
- Charles - Had the audience eating out of the palm of his hand, as he recalled taking the test to become a magician at the famous Magic Castle in Hollywood!
Overall, I'm extremely pleased with how the first 2 workshops have played out. I'm excited to host the next one for La Paz, Bolivia, and giving myself more time to plan and prepare. I'm also looking to open the workshops up to the local community, which will be a way for me to push myself out of my comfort zone.
Stay tuned to hear how it goes!