Speaking: What you can expect

BOB WELCH has been described as a “Swiss Army knife of speakers.” As the author of 15 books and more than 2,000 newspaper columns, he collects wide-ranging fodder that he sifts through a “do-unto-others” value system. The result is an array of inspirational, witty and though-provoking talks. In short, Welch’s presentations — in his own words — are:

❦ Authentic. “Above all, I want to be real. Genuine. I don’t tell stories I heard or saw on the Web. I tell stories I’ve come across in my 35-plus years in journalism.”

❦ Inspiring. “I’m not the guy who’s going to inspire you to go out and make a million bucks. I’m the guy who’s going to convince you that your job is so important that you’ll want to work harder and smarter, because of your renewed pride. I’m the guy who’s going to connect your nonprofit organization to the audience at such a deep emotional level that it’ll translate into contributions. I’m the guy who, above all, is going to remind those listening that we are all pebbles in the water and can make far more difference in this world than we have imagined.”

❦ Sprinkled with humor. “I’ve won the National Society of Newspaper Columnist’s top prize for humor writing and have judged the Erma Bombeck Humor Writing Contest. But I’m not a standup comedian. I see humor as a means to an end. When people laugh, they relax. When they relax, they listen. When they listen, there’s a better chance that they’ll take to heart something serious I say.”

❦ Custom-crafted. “As a speaker, my journalistic background makes me a tad different than some speakers. Beyond having a heightened concern for accuracy and deadlines, I routinely interview people who are part of the organization to whom I’ll be speaking. The worst thing in a speaker is someone who stands up there and says, “It’s great to be here with you tonight” when he doesn’t know where ‘here’ is or who ‘you’ are. I partner with every organization I’m working with, considering it a privilege to become part of their team to help the event be a success.”

❦ Filled with heart and hope. “What inspires audiences more than anything is stories of inspiring people. When I tell them about Frances Slanger, a heroic WWII on whom my book American Nightingale is based, it resonates with people who think they’re not particularly significant’ They think: Hey, if she could make a difference in the world, so can I.” When I talk about hiking the 452-mile Oregon portion of the Pacific Crest Trail, I do so as a guy who did it at age 57, giving hope for those of us who think life ends at 40.

TOPICS: Making a difference, overcoming obstacles, leaving an honorable legacy, living for something larger than ourselves, courage, reconciliation, daring to dream, the power of the imagination, the honor of the World War II generation, outdoors, sports, desperation as a catalyst for inspiration,resiliency,the value of history, the value of humor, and plenty more.

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