We are answering your questions…


Why do you speak about such a painful subject?
I won’t lie—talking about the stroke and recovery experience and reliving the pain and emotion is hard.  However, we decided it is worth doing.  Gordon’s options for gainful employment were pretty much taken away by the stroke but doing nothing was not acceptable to us.  At every speech we have given, someone from the audience has shared their own painful experience with us and thanked us for giving them hope and encouragement.  That is reason enough for us.

Why does Gordon only have 2 speeches?
The most stubborn and impactful deficits from Gordon’s stroke are his inability to organize his thoughts and then get the words out.  Because of his cognitive inflexibility, any changes to his fully prepared speeches require months of practice to be able to speak to an audience.  As a result, he sticks to his script.  We have made a few changes over time but right now, Gordon needs consistency to be an effective speaker.

Jill Viggiano

Just email me!

“Just email me; I will look at it and make some suggestions.”  It sound easy; we do it all the time.  But what happens when we KNOW what we going to say, but it comes out mumbled?

That is EXACTLY what happened to a fellow member of Birrdsong I was talking with last week  A few months ago, he told me he was writing a speech and asked if I could help with the images.  I said sure.  Well, that’s not exactly what happened.  He told me what he was doing and I fumbled around what I wanted to say.  Eventually, I said wanted to say about the images.

I saw him again and I asked how the speech was going.  He told me it was almost done and he should soon need my help with the images. Then I froze.

I new what I wanted to say: “Just email me; I will look at it and make some suggestions,” but I just couldn’t say it.

I got in the car and mentally thought about what I WANTED to tell him.  After I got home, I sat down and wrote it out.  It took about half an hour. But now, when he calls, I pull up the script and will amaze him.

I realized it just takes some time to get all the words out in the order I want.

YES…4 more speeches this month!

Sure…I guess this is ok.

Naturally, I want it to be more.  I am ALWAYS wanting more.  But I have to stay calm and BUILD my business.  The problem is that I hate it when I am NOT building my business.  Everyday I should be making phone calls, meeting with people, networking, etc.

The problem is that I don’t talk very well.  See the dilemma?

Sometimes I tape record the calls.  I have had meetings when I thought I was spectacular and I couldn’t wait to hear how I sounded.  I turn on the tape and each time I am stunned. I can’t believe what I am hearing.  I THINK I am doing a good job, but when I hear myself speak, I realize that all the people AROUND me are the ones being kind. I am terrible…even after 6.5 years.

When I talk…and read from a script, I do great.  But when I try to improvise, that is where I fall down. I am thinking about scripting MORE of my calls.   What do you think?