• 28th October 2007 - By adventuresofgreg

    Redefining scary – 600 kids from grade 1 to 9

    Jerry Seinfeld once talked about a poll that had been conducted in which Americans said that their number one fear was public speaking, and that the fear of death was number five. He said, “…that would mean that at a funeral, people are five times more likely to want to be in the casket than giving the eulogy. “

    Theresa has arranged four KidPower presentations so far this school year, two keynote year opening speeches, and two smaller groups. The interaction style of my regular kidPower school presentation has served me well, and this year was my first foray into the keynote format where I just yak on and on for 60 minutes. The keynote is tough – super tough. And it’s not going nearly as well as I would like. I’m finding it very difficult to keep the kids attention for a whole 60 minutes of blabbing on and on… That definitely needs work and it is one of my goals this year.

    My most recent keynote was at the Glenmore Christian Academy on Tuesday. I was almost late due to unexpected morning rush hour traffic and anxiously waiting at the back door as I pulled up in the packed Suburban were my sis Theresa and the school administrator. I wasn’t stressed, as we’ve done this enough times now that I knew we could do a full set-up in about 15 minutes or less.

    The administrator took me back stage – yes, back stage. GCA has a stage so big, it has an actual back-stage, curtains, spot lights, control room, etc. When we walked out onto the stage, it was freaking HUGE! I couldn’t believe it. Teared rows of seats like an auditorium with seating for 550. She told me that it was a big day at GCA, and they had speakers lined up all day to speak to select groups of kids in various class rooms through out the school. This is where I thought she would let me know which class-room small group I was expected to speak to. Nope. She informed me that I was their feature key note speaker. I would be speaking to the entire student and staff population of 600 – yup – 600! gulp! Grades K to 9. For 60 minutes. In 15 minutes.


    The presentation started off with a 15 minute introduction from Jungle Jim Hunter – a local Calgary celebrity and downhill ski Bronze medalist at the 1972 Winter Olympic games in Sapporo, Japan. Jim is an accomplished, confident and experienced speaker. Just the guy you want to follow. Right…

    In the end, I guess I did OK, but I don’t think all that great. Certainly not like I would like. My goal is to ROCK the house. Anything less is a failure in my opinion. There were moments where I could tell I was starting to bore the kids, and that is my sign that I have failed. My job is to keep them riveted for 60 minutes. I know that K-9 is a tough crowd, but still… I have to learn how to do this better.

    Our usual KidPower presentations are to groups of about 50 to 100 kids sitting on the gym floor, and both Theresa and I have this down to a science and it works great – We rock. Plenty of interaction, question/answers, discussion, some participation and only the raw facts about Critical Power, WiTHiN, the Atlantic and Ironman. This kids really dig that, and it is truly a lot of fun.

    The keynote really needs work. That’s my Ironman for this year. I’s like to find a coach/mentor.

    My sister Theresa is doing a fantastic job organizing these events for me. I am lucky to have someone like that working with me. Without her, KidPower would simply NOT exist.

  • 6 Comments to “Redefining scary”

    • zmemw161 on October 29, 2007

      max attn span for students is way less than 60min, more like 40min

      go interactive for 10min in the middle and give them a break:-)

    • fruey on October 29, 2007

      I agree with previous comment. A room full of adults can't keep their attention for 60mn, let alone kids!

      You probably want to break it up, as suggested. I've done a bit of public speaking and generally longer than 20mn without pauses or question/answer sessions is almost impossible.

      If you have demos & stuff, or interactive parts, or audience participation of some sort, it will flow better & attention will remain.

      -Fruey a.k.a. Simon

    • Anonymous on October 29, 2007

      Whether you can keep kids' attention for 60mn or not, the whole point of your talk is about getting active and it might make sense to have them moving in place as the participation. Especially if they're going to be sitting there the rest of the day.

      Things like running in place or doing self-massage are what I'm thinking about. I realize that doing this with hundreds of kids in a confined place might create a safety problem, that could also be part of the talk too – thinking about how to do something safely before you do it.

      email if you're interested in further ideas. The self-massage is especially powerful and I like sharing that with people.

      Nick Hein
      Morgantown, WV

    • Anonymous on October 31, 2007

      Greg did great! I was there since I am a student of GCA. It's not easy performing in front of who knows how many people. We have different events that have many people performing. our Website is http://www.gcaschool.ca . About our attention span… You might want to think about that one again guys. Greg also presented the coolest information! I will send those pictures to you Greg! Don't think that I've forgotten!

      Enoch Tseng

    • Adventures of Greg on October 31, 2007

      Thanks Enoch!

      Enoch took the coolest photos and I would like to post them on the site. I've been trying to get in contact with you about those photos Enoch, but I don't have your email address. If you read this, can you email me?

      Thanks again!
      Greg K

    • Anonymous on November 5, 2007

      I read ya loud and clear Greg! Wait a minute.. I'm a bit late, ain't I? DANG IT!!! Oh well..
      Enoch Tseng

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