I had my first request to speak to an audience back in 2001, an experience which I remember well. It was a group of 50 or so people right down in Falmouth in south Devon, but the reason that I remember it most of all was because I was terrified! My preparations and rehearsals went on for days, and I eventually compiled a talk, with video clips which lasted for three quarters of an hour. But in reality I had no need to worry. I didn’t realise at the time but I had with me a never to fail secret weapon, my top sheepdog of the time……. ‘Swift’.
Swift sat patiently on stage throughout my performance, eagerly watching the DVD clips, even demonstrating whistle commands by running around the on screen sheep. At the end of my talk a long cue formed, not to speak to me, but for Swift to paw print a copy of the ‘Working Sheepdog’ DVD, in which she starred.
As it has turned out that talk was the start of something, and for the past ten years public speaking has become a regular part of my life. The publishing of my books resulted in talking at events across the country, and this has developed into some after dinner speaking as well as the ‘now for something different’ talks to add a little light entertainment to business conferences.
I’d like to think that my skills have been honed over the years. I usually speak for anything up to an hour, and although Swift has long gone, I usually bring Mist along where appropriate. She’s not quite the showman that Swift was, but I pride myself that she is the only member of the audience who has ever fallen asleep!
So if you are looking for a speaker in the Autumn and Winter months do get in touch on the e-mail below. After that terrifying start to my public speaking career, I’ve grown to quite enjoy the chance to share my experiences of sheep farming, sheepdogs and film making in our particularly beautiful corner of North Devon.