"What an inspiration!"
"Best speaker I've ever had at these conferences. She was great!!!"
Event planner: "So, no Powerpoint Presentation? Do you have at least a slide show of images?"
Event Planner: "Wow, you must be a powerful speaker to not need any props."
Ali: "I'd say it's more the message that's powerful enough to stand on it's own."
That's from an actual conversation with an event planner and the reviews at the very top there are from that very event.
I can tell you right now that I'm not the kind with her head down, glasses on, reading from and shuffling pages, there's no power point presentation or flashy imaging (other than a cool intro video). I talk the same whether it's to a friend, a customer or a room full of Harvard professors. Ok, one exception. I do dial back on the swearing in public, but other than that, spot on, Bob's yer uncle, Frieda's yer aunt and I, am "Imperfection at its Best."
I tell a compelling story straight from the heart of dealing with a daunting diagnosis through humor and a silver lining standpoint, get some laughs, maybe we all wipe a tear or two and when it's done, you're less afraid of cancer (and the other things that scare us), energized and inspired. There's big applause, even bigger hugs and affirmations and a slight dragging of the feet as we part ways because we all genuinely feel connected and had such an amazing time together.
Oh, and sometimes I sing. That's a unique element to my speaking engagements is (when asked) I'll perform one of my original, Americana songs. It's my way of showing appreciation to the docs who saved (and keep saving) my lungs.
Another nice touch is offering attendees a keepsake of the experience. My books and music CD covers are also customizable and make an excellent memento for conference goers.