speaking on the spot

Yesterday was a big big day for me. Thanks to my new friend and excellent speaker, Duane Cashin, I was a breakout speaker at the NYC EXPO for Business, which was held at the Jacob Javitz Center. Although I’ve lived on the East Coast for 20 some years now, this was my first time in the Javitz Center. The whole day was a thrill. Well, actually, a thrill and a half.

As I was waiting for Duane’s presentation to begin, at about 11:00, Mark Sherrer, the President of Event Management, and mastermind of this humongous event, approaches me and asks me if I can fill in for a presenter who’s fallen ill and was to present in the afternoon. “You mean give my presentation twice? I’d love to!” “No,” he said, “You’ll have to give the scheduled presentation which is…. Let’s see… Oh, “Marketing and Advertising on a Budget.” “You’re kidding me, right?” was my immediate and out-loud reply. The dead serious look on his face let me know he was in fact not kidding me. “Honestly Mark, I know nothing about marketing and advertising.”
Thankfully, just then Bill Kenny, events manager at the Hartford Business Journal stepped in. “Yes you do, Debbie. You have a website, and a blog, and you do presentations and networking…” “WOW!” I said, “He’s right! Yes, I’m a small business owner and I know all that stuff, particularly how to do it on a tight budget. I’m in.”

Now came the hard part. I had two hours to design and develop a presentation. Those of you who know my schtick will be happy to know that I adhered to all of my own rules; especially the rule of threes. I grouped the kinds of marketing into three groups, free or almost free, worth spending money on, and hey, you never know. Having structured my presentation this way, I had only to put flesh on the bones and then think of a gripping opening and tie-up closing.

I loved delivering it; it enabled me to share with new business owners my own experience as a start-up. And it gave me the opportunity to see what my clients feel like when they’re under the gun. A win win win.

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