A double bill to Awesome – Laughing at your Fears

At the April PSASA Johannesburg Chapter Meeting, held on 22 April, we hosted two phenomenal speakers: Jonathan Leeming and Bronwyn Kilroe. This full and entertaining meeting was led by our new Chapter President Arthur Goldstuck and emceed by the talented Alex Granger.

To start the meeting, immediate Past Chapter President Nikki Bush gave feedback on the successful PSASA Next conference and celebrated the award winners from our chapter. Due to the COVID pandemic, both the 2020 and 2021 awards were presented at the April 2021 gala dinner – hosted as a hybrid event.

As a professional association, we have several awards that recognise excellence.

The Speaker Hall of Fame award reflects outstanding success in the field of professional keynote speaking and we applauded three people from the past two years:

The Educator Hall of Fame award reflects outstanding success in the field of facilitation, training, coaching, and consulting and we recognised six members from Johannesburg and one from Cape Town

The 2021 PSASA Speaker Factor Winner is Alison Weihe.

Congratulations to all these speakers who have been willing to go longer, work harder and give more than anyone else over time in their chosen specialities.

Out first speaker of the evening, Jonathan Leeming, was eloquently introduced by Steve Johnson.

Jonathan’s talk was fascinating, and he removed the fear around spider bites. However, he scared us silly with this equation:

Lessons on overcoming spider, life, and business challenges from Jonathan’s talk:

  • Our perceptions, values, beliefs, and fears around spiders are based on what we don’t know rather than what we do know. Admit that you don’t know and reach for help.
  • We plug the gaps in our knowledge with assumptions rather than seeking reality. Ask the expert.
  • Knowing a little about a topic and overestimating your own knowledge can be dangerous (the Dunning-Kruger effect).
  • We expect the worst when we see a symptom and jump to conclusions based on ignorance.
  • Where you get information? Look at history for insights and rely on the latest information and research. Make sure you understand the meaning and implications of any event or incident.
  • What are you wrong about? Do not blame others. Find the facts. Look for the evidence.

Ian Bratt thanked Jonathan stating that the case for the defence of spiders now rests as we gained the gift of understanding.

Alex then enlightened us on the values of a mosquito. Yoke did squats while Gary did diddly squats during the break. And we saw some cool moves!

And then we laughed!

Yoke Van Dam introduced laughter coach Bronwyn Kilroe, who explained laugher in relation to neuroscience.

Bronwyn demonstrated her teachings to energise, engage, and connect with your audience and to celebrate YOU!

Lessons learned:

  • Self-care is essential.
  • Motion creates emotion – movement creates feelings. Movement energises and releases endorphins and serotonin.
  • And so, we shook and shaked, and snapped.
  • And we are all AWESOME!

  • Laughter is a great pre-performance ritual to release stress
  • Calm performance anxiety by using mental floss.

  • Laughter stimulates creativity
  • Laughter boosts your energy

She then shared her strategy to make our audiences to feel good. She invited us to share ideas on how we could create a fun strategy in our talks and training.

Laughter is the shortest distance between two people! And we are all AWESOME!

Bryan Turner thanked Bronwyn and made us all laugh.

Written by Lois Wagner. Edited by Bryan Turner.