Let's be prepared for the "chance"

Tulipes au milieu de la route (14)
2008 April. On the route with my car taking my grand daughter to photographie birds on Seine.

Suddenly, tulips on the middle of the road.

"Mamie, stop! I would like to take photos of those!"

I just offered a camera for her 9th birthday. Stop, in the middle of the road, with four even if small and relatively quiet streets around? Where?

"OK, I'll stop, I'll stop, as soon as I find where to leave the car."

A small field, offered a place for the car, and we went careful, hand by hand to the flower arrangement in the middle of the roads. Each of us with our camera. I was first more fascinated with my grand daughter taking careful one flower ofter other and making macro photos of each.

Then, I move a bit and see this quiet street. Click.
Tulipes au milieu de la route (3)
Just a second later a car passed. Click.

This photo was taken at the "decisive moment", and become one the most favourited on flickr.
Ensemble près de la Seine (33)
Of course, I had to stop in the middle of the road, I had to get there, I had to be ready for it. Ready for the unexpected, for the non prepared, ready and flexible.

In photography, preparing the next speech or story, or meeting the "one" that will count in our life, it is important to be ready and open for what will arrive.


Back on the saddle

Standup comedian, me? I can barely stand on my feet...The 7 November, gigging again.

Yes, I broke my leg and feet in 5 places almost seven month ago and I had to make a pause. The pause was only in delivery not in creating jokes.

Frustrations, bad situations, mishaps offer the best occasion to jokes, so I do have now a lot of new material in my repertoire.

Of course, I have to try them out, not only on one or two, which I did, all along, but the audience of comedy clubs.

In seven month, the only place I gigged was BBC1 The One Show, where I proved I can make laugh and I can remember my lines and take out from the bag of jokes one or another as requested. More, to link it to something I just heard a minute before my tour come. Now, in New Cross, I am on again, and looking forward to it.


Video by Spark London 'Mistaken Identity' night Julie Kertesz true story

First told as registered here, at Canal Cafe for the Spark London 'mistaken identity' this video spokes of change of life and about "we have more in us then we know".  And the telling of how I changed my profession at age 48, changed again my life at 77!

The audience laughed, a lot, why? How may I do when I want them to laugh? I discovered Standup Comedy, took classes, and went to open mic clubs. Got awards and lots of laughter.

Now after 77+ performances? I can tell : I had funny bones I did not know about! Plus at any frustration I now look: how can I present it look at it with comedian eyes.
Will I be able to retell this in only 7 minutes instead of 11? What should I cut? Finaly, they let me tell almost all of the story. 

 Yesterday, March 25, they told me I can cut the first three minutes! I'll try it thus. But I have to add the motivation: 'I want my son back' then later that I did. And perhaps, at the end, mention him again, so the end matches the beginning. Instead of 'microcomputer' use 'personal computer'. Instead of 'cave' use 'cellar in the garden'. 
There is a video from another angle of my performance (one taken by my family and the other by organiser), alas I was more facing the audience then the videographer. 

In fact, I told it first, 4 year ago in the middle of the deep recession, as Mystery Speaker to a Toastmasters club near Victoria Station. At that time the title must have been "think outside the box" to show that we could look at all we know and like not only at a job or profession description of us.

This storytelling November 2010 was a pivotal experience for me, because the audience laughed a lot and I decided to learn how to make humour - when I want!  I found my first Stand Up Comedy Workshop at the Comedy School. Then, the second Standup & Deliver, and then later the same year the third, with David Jones. After then, at age 77 I went out to the Comedy Circuit "at least 20 he told us".

As to now, beginning 2014 I have performed more then 77 times as Standup, and have also given many many other true stories together with other storytellers at Spark.

 One of the "secrets" is to go out not to "win" but to try out something new, challenge yourself to experiment each time something. It is very useful, at least at the beginning to take video and see yourself.

That is how I realised that I run out to fast in Mistaken Identity, I hid from the lights another times, and I realised the next time when I do not hide, fast my eyes get used and I forget about lights in my eyes.

Another time, Johanna told me "you move too much" and yes, again I was to avoid the strong reflectors, next time after my opening sentence I sit down and gave all using voice variety and face. It was a very successful performance: "you looked straight to me when you told the stories!" - I did not tell her that in the dark of the audience I could not see anyone other then the first row.

 Going out like there are our friends, not as we go to the "lions den", and even speaking with some before and becoming nearer is important. After you have spoken, they seem to be nearer you, and you to all audience through them and react more, better.
Go to http://www.youtube.com/user/sparklondon to see other storytellers too!


Manchester "When I was ten the war caught up with me" Julie Kertesz

"True Stories with Grant Whisky" at Manchester Town hall with 400 audience and two big screens showing the performance so all can see it well.

It was from the beginning a decision to tell this story from the eyes of a ten years old me, and do not relate how I see it now with knowledge not even from what I learned a year later.

Another big decision was to add to it a part about "now" and link it with "holding hands" with the past: that leaves all with a warm feeling and also a non told but important second message.

Asking Advice
Toastmasters to whom I told this story in my different clubs (it was each time from a project Manual speech), and asked advice, all gave me very useful advices.

Where should I stretch to hold the suspense longer, where should I change my face and make more pause, for example. Joanna Yates, producer of Spark London, helped me a lot to shorten and cut from my long initial beginning where I talked, for this story at least, a lot more of my cousin.

Telling it some other time, perhaps I could add back as different blocks can be taken out usually and added depending of the circumstances. But this story I told so many times that I learned it as is, and last year as I went to give a keynote in AYR, West of Scotland, I met two young women on the train and told them the story. It went so easy and they were fascinated.

9 recommended books (and others) from my bookshelf

Public speaking is telling stories, using humour, presenting them all together. And conveying an old wisdom in a new way. Here a few of my favourites I studied and read again and again, Each time discovering new nuggets and understanding deeper.

1st where all starts :
The Power of Personal Storytelling, Jack Maguire
Why, how to find, how to shape, how to remember
- the speaking champion Malachi studied it before going all the way up to Las Vegas
- the renewed education Ambassador and well known workshop leader is studying it now too

2nd, Improving your storytelling, Doug Lipman
About finding MIT, the Most Important Thing, about our links to audience, story and the teller.
And different kind of audience and evenings and the joy of reaching the one who does needed it.

3 th Wired for story, Lisa Cron,
How to hook the reader, delving deeper in why we are expecting, what we are expecting, deep, not easy to reach all the goals but explain clearly what we are "wired for" to expect from a story.
Some of these in this picture
from my Books for Public Speaking

4rd speak like Churchill, stand like Linkoln by James C. Humes
Secrets of Histories great speakers, easy to read, great techniques. First one "the power of pause".

5th the Story Factor by Annette Simmons,
Influence and persuade at work through art of storytelling in the enterprise and workplace.

6. Be a great standup, by Logan Murray, from London (also great workshop leader)
For all budding amateur comedians, explains some important basics, with exemples

7. Standup Comedy, the book by Judy Carter, 
First ever book about standup, some great techniques, basics on humour

8. The naked presenter, Garr Reynolds,
Presenting with or without slides, but opening up going deep into your story

9. Resonance, Nancy Duarte
Present visual stories that transform the audience

Another time, I will add three more to the list.
These books I read and studied and re-read., they all helped me to progress and added to the total.
I am still in need to study them again, as at every stage we understand differently.

Wonderful division contest, great audience! very strong competitors

Julie, as division governor closing the meeting with ~120 participants
Division K Governor of Toastmasters UK South District, closing the division Contest.

16 speakers competitors in two categories, 8 humorous speech and 8 spontaneous speech
120 audience full room very warm appreciative too
2 1e winners : Malachi and Samir, and also great 2e and 3d winners.

Julie Kertesz, Division Governor closing the meeting here.


One leave, many variations

One leave, many variations! the same can be done with a "fact" or story

use right arrow to look what a fallen leave can still be used!