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A Substitute

Art Fettig's Monday Morning Memo
November 27, 2017
919-732-6994
artfettig@aol.com

In This Issue
o A Substitute
o Say Something Good
o Points to Ponder
o A Little Humor
o Quote
o To Subscribe

 Audience
... and then listen for the laughter.

A Substitute
One of my fondest memories as a speaker was the time I was called in by General Foods Management Club to substitute for Euell Gibbons, a natural food TV celebrity.  I lived right there In Battle Creek, Michigan where the meeting was to be held. Euell was forever being shown on TV eating cattails and other weird foods he'd locate out in the woods.  I worked hard on my opening lines for my talks and so I opened with a comment on being the substitute for Euell Gibbons. I said, "Unfortunately, Ewell could not be with you this evening.  I understand he was detained in the Upper Peninsula for violating a virgin pine.(pause)  He said he just couldn't resist those crazy cones." (pause)

Let me digress. Once when the great comic Jonathan Winters  was interviewed on a show about comedy he said that when he was learning comedy he was told to tell a joke, hit the punch line hard and then slowly count to five waiting for the laughter.  Then he said, "I still haven't learned to do it silently.  One, two, three, four, five."

Well when I'd write these new opening lines for a speech I had to practice them in my mind. In my rehearsals I used to hit the punch line hard and then count to five silently and then listen for the laughter. I learned to wait until the laughter built too because some audiences are a little slower catching on. And I learned how to let the laughter begin to ebb before I would continue. (Don't step on the laugh.)  I learned that there were a thousand ways to mess up a joke and so not all of those opening lines worked the way I visualized them in my mind.

That night I got a great laugh on the first line and then greater laughter and applause on the second. I was home free with that audience from there on.  When you are being paid as a professional speaker your job is to win over that audience every time.

Another challenge I faced that evening is best described in this well known quote. "A prophet is without honor in his home town."  I've been told by those who know the Bible much, much more than I do that Jesus could not work miracles in his home town. Well, I knew I certainly wasn't in His league.

Now the reason that presentation sticks out in my mind was that I finally had the courage to open with new material and even though this was a home town group I managed to do a great job.  It was a small booking but a giant step forward in my career.  Most of what I did that evening was my original material.  I'd been gaining confidence, building my repertoire and having enough success on a national basis to feel good about my career.  I didn't work any miracles that evening but I sure came a long way.

Do you have a story about "confidence"?  I'd love to hear from you.  You can leave your comments on my Blog by Clicking Here.

Say Something Good
It was way too much Lasagna for either of us to eat and so we started splitin' one. We asked for an extra plate. Both of us bein' over eighty, we just don't eat that much any way. They served buttered French bread with it and we both walked out of the restaurant stuffed. Oh yes, we each ordered a Coke and turned down refills.  Some folks might think we looked cheap or lacking in the proper restaurant etiquette. So who gives a darn. I never was that thrilled with etiquette and other high falutin' attitudes anyway.  Jean just tolerates me the way I am. I always figured that people who walk around with their noses in the air are really low falutin' inside and they know it and they are tryin' to cover up their low falutin'-ness.  

The Lasagna was heavenly...and just enough.

May God Bless America and bring us world peace.

Points to Ponder
Have you learned the lessons only of those who admired you, and were tender with you, and stood aside for you? Have you not learned great lessons from those who braced themselves against you, and disputed passage with you? Walt Whitman

A Little Humor
You show me a man who keeps both feet on the ground and I'll show you a man that can't get his pants on.

Quote
I am struggling to maintain the government, not to overthrow it. I am struggling especially to prevent others from overthrowing it. Abraham Lincoln

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