Feedback from our February Virtual Chapter Meeting

On 21 February, our monthly virtual chapter kicked off with a few engaging champion challenges.

The contenders for our annual Speaker Factor challenge, Ursula Botha and Njideka Chika Orji, had to put their skills to the test against a nerve-wracking target. They had a mere five minutes to impress judges with their stagecraft, script, delivery and “bookability”.

The stage was set and the participants, coaches, judges and attendees held their breath waiting for the countdown to pass, knowing that our time keeper, Michele Thwaits, was diligently watching the clock to judge speakers on their time.

Njideka Chika Orji, an impactful parenting advocate and storyteller, challenged us to re-look at how we define motherhood and reminded us of how powerful a mother’s contribution is to building a nation that is fundamentally made up of families. Her mantra: “A healthy mom creates a healthy family; creates a healthy nation,” challenges mothers to discover who they are; develop their gifts and instead of shedding their identity when they become mothers, to deploy these gifts into the world.
There were more than a few nods from both men and women attendees when she challenged us to set aside the “I am just a mom” identity.

Ursula Botha, the eloquent and dynamic voice, speaking and executive presence coach addressed a fear that many speakers struggle with at the start of their careers, but one that can continue to re-emerge through their career and that was finding your own authentic confident voice.
Her inspirational piece highlighted the gap that we have between who we want to be and where we are at the moment. Ursula shared her own journey and inspired the attendees by reminding them that “Your own confident voice is calling you.”

It wouldn’t be a true Virtual chapter meeting without some powerful lessons for engaging audiences for Virtual speakers. Ian Hatton, a conscious leadership expert, AKA “Morpheus” dazzled the audience with his highly interactive presentation on audience engagement that showcased products that help all speakers whether they are in-person, hybrids or virtual speakers. After listening and engaging with Ian, no one could doubt why he got the educators’ award. The best kind of learning is, of course, where you get to practise skills inside the setting and Ian certainly achieved that with the audience all jumping onto the tools he used and attendees even got to experience real time results.

The judges for the evening: Eksteen de Waal, President of the Professional Speakers’ Association of the Netherlands, Ian Hatton, past president of the Virtual Chapter and Johanita Thwaits, President of the Virtual Chapter did not take long to declare that both participants would be going onto to the next round. The spectacular results and a testament to our Laura Baxter and Heather Wright, as well as the exceptional speakers whose practice and hard work paid off.

An all round excellent evening with great take home lessons. See you at the next event.

Thank you, Kim Vermaak for this detailed blog.

I encourage you to grow your network and connect with all the people mentioned above on LinkedIn.

The Virtual Chapter AGM is scheduled for 4 March. If any of our members would like to be a part of the 2023/2024 committee, email us at [email protected] or [email protected].