The following Plus Edition article is written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.Ah, the glamorous life: flying from city to city, giving presentations before genealogy conferences and society meetings. How would you like to do the same?
First of all, I'll warn you there isn't much glamor in genealogy public speaking. Indeed, the busiest and most popular speakers on the genealogy circuit usually grow weary of a life of hotels, living out of suitcases, interminable hours spent in airports, and a constant diet of "rubber chicken and peas" at conference banquets. Going through airport security for the eighth time in one month also isn't fun. Glamor? Maybe not.
Next, the money isn't so good except for a handful of top-notch superstars who have been doing this for years. The high-paid experts are usually seasoned public speakers and writers and probably professional researchers as well. Some of them even have television experience. As a beginner, you won't see those big paychecks for a long time.
The constant travel can get you down as well. Sometimes you forget where you are or where you are going. I used to do more speaking than I do now and was on the road two or three times a month. More than once I woke up in a hotel room in the early morning hours and briefly wondered, "Where am I?"
One day I walked up to the ticket counter at the local airport, and the lady behind the desk asked innocently, "Where are you flying to today?" I stammered for a bit and then realized that I couldn't remember! Luckily, a printed itinerary in my jacket pocket rescued me. At that moment, I decided I was traveling too much. I travel less these days.
Despite the drawbacks, public speaking also provides a lot of gratification. Providing instruction or expertise to those who are eager to learn what you can offer is a rewarding experience. I suspect teachers are familiar with those feelings. Public speakers enjoy the same “rush” of doing the job well. I suspect that few others can say the same.
I thought I would share a few of my experiences and a lot of my observations of other genealogy speakers.
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