About fifty student-athletes were seated in the room. Their eager eyes were looking up at me wondering if I’d say anything that connected with their lives. I’d only met three of them before and that was a couple of years ago. I was there to give a talk about business and the Bible to North Dakota State University’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter. As a Hero On A Mission one of my goals to grow my business is to seek opportunities to speak in front of a crowd. But the truth is, I probably would have spoken to this group any way because there is a special place in my heart for student-athletes.
I had a great time. I love to teach. I specialize in bringing the Bible’s story alive and showing where it connects with our everyday lives. My style of teaching is to learn what I can about a topic, figure out a simple and interesting way to explain it, then sharing it with those who came to hear and learn.
How I Evaluate My Speaking Opportunities
After the teaching was over the students split up into small groups to discuss the talk. It was satisfying to listen to the buzz in the room as groups of young men and women discussed how my talk landed for them personally. As I sat by myself in my chair, I overheard people in the two groups closest to me sharing their insights. What they were saying was on point. I heard an energy and a conviction in their voices that makes me think I had accomplished what I’d set out to do. In fact, the way they were talking, I wished I’d shortened my talk by 10 minutes so they would have had even more time for small group discussion. (Lesson learned for the next time I get to share this talk.)
My assessment that I’d hit my mark was confirmed after the evening was over. I had conversations with a handful of the students. They’d all say, “Thanks for speaking tonight. That was really good.” I’ve learned that’s the polite thing to say to a speaker. So I dig for more. I asked the individuals who came to talk to me, “What kinds of things made it a good talk for you?” If they can give specific answers to that question. Then I know it really was good. And that’s the kind of feedback I got. Whether it was a reminder of a truth they needed to hear; or an insight that helped them make sense of life; or a practical application that a young woman was eager to try in her own life. They had gotten it and begun to absorb it for their own lives.
One graduating business major from the football team got my cell number because he’s interested in the Bible Book Club I facilitate with three other young entrepreneurs here in Fargo. I think I’ll be seeing him in the future. I’m looking forward to it.