The Walrus Talks is a national speaker series that focuses on issues and themes important to all Canadians.
The Walrus Magazine is a type of political debate magazine here in Canada. From the magazine, they launched The Walrus Debates and now Walrus Talks events. These events consist of several different panelists from diverse backgrounds and areas of expertise. Each panelist has a firm seven minutes to present on the theme of the event, bringing in their own stories. The event I was featured in had the theme “How to Animate a City," and of my co-panelists included film writers, comics, professors, community activists, city councillors, and innovative business professionals. And then there was me.
I have done a few public speaking events in the past, large and small, sometimes scripted and sometimes not. For this Walrus Talks, I thought of a few pointers to guide me through my talk, but I went up without a speech. I have to really thank the training I received from Odawa Keesak Toastmasters’ Club in Ottawa, a few years ago. That training helped me stay on track and allowed me to realize that we each have our own style of presenting and speaking. My style comes from reading the crowd and feeling the energy in the room, and most importantly, my style is all about being honest, something that comes from my cultural teachings.
I have come a long way to get to where I am at today. I still get butterflies before presenting, but Elder Annie Smith St George said this was a good thing. She said “I get butterflies too. Butterflies are a good thing, and when you come up to the mic, you let those butterflies sore into the crowd.” I remember when we had to do public speaking in grade six, I was deathly afraid. For me the cue cards were my worst enemy. I am no longer scared or intimidated to speak to large crowds, I now look at this as an opportunity to share my story and hopefully inspire others to do good work.
You can watch my Walrus Talk, "Heart of a City," by clicking this link.