Recently Ryan and I traveled to Cincinnati for the Toastmaster International Convention. This experience meant more and did more for the both of us than probably anyone can imagine. We took away several things from this experience.
As many of you remember, back in Fall of 2010 Ryan completed at the club level in the International Speech contest and won. This lead him to compete at the area then regional levels. At each level, the competition got steeper and yet Ryan’s God-given talent won out. At the district level (aka state level), Ryan was up against 9 other contestants. While I am probably bias, he was unfairly disqualified without any ability to dispute. That was the end; no competing at the International Convention 2011.
Fast forward two years later. Ryan received a phone call form Toastmasters asking him to lead a session at the upcoming International Convention. What a turn around from being told he couldn’t go on to compete at the convention. Now they were wanting him to come and speak. First takeaway- God’s timing is perfect.
In the past year, Ryan and I worked through some difficult issues concerning my employment. Our final decision led to me being able to join him on his biggest speaking engagement yet. It was our first time to get to do this thing (which I like to call RJ,LLC) together. We were a team. This time it wasn’t solely about him being on stage, but also about marketing him in order to gain future business. That was where I came in! While he stood inside the room that seated at least 250 people (by the way, there wasn’t an empty chair) wooing the crowd; I stood outside helping direct stragglers into his session, getting people’s contact info, and selling his book. Second takeaway- it takes both of us being fully onboard.
Upon our debrief from the day, we found out that so much more went on then either one of us knew. This came from people who commented to each of us separately, conversations we overheard, and reactions from people that heard Ry’s speech and some that didn’t but wanted to know more about him. We also got the “privilege” to hear negative feedback. Yes, you heard me correctly, Ryan sparked some negative comments. Nothing new to us, because at least we know that what he is talking about is something special because if it didn’t invoke that kind of reaction at times that would mean his content was meaningless. Another important fact to mention was that during Ry’s hour session, another session was going on from a previous winner of the International Speech Contest (a BIG NAME in the TM world) and yet Ry had a pack house. Third takeaway- what Ryan has to say to the world is valuable.
This opportunity was huge for Ryan and for RJ, LLC. Ryan nailed the speech. He spoke to an international audience, people from all over the world. We were able to market him in order to gain further clients. It took us communicating with each other fully. And ultimately, it took both of us completely giving this to the Lord and not worrying what the outcome was.