It’s amazing to see how people treat you like a king while trying to get you to speak in a programme only for you to get there to face the shocking truth that they never really had a plan for you to be on the programme schedule. This is one thing that can drain the energy and resources of a public speaker and an author.
If I have to start counting there is no way I can give you the accurate figures. As a matter of fact I think I have lost count on the number of programmes where organizers get you to council some of the programmes on your schedule because they want you to speak in their meetings and at the end of the day they tell you all sort of stories about what went wrong or what someone did not do.
There was a programme I went for somewhere in Lagos to address the youths of the organizations. The organizers of the programme had told me I was going to be speaking for one hour and they had given me a time. One of the things I always work on is to make sure that I keep to the time given to me by the people inviting me for a programme but on several occasions I can see that the organizers are not even prepared for the time given to me. When they eventually start they will then begin to tell you that they have some other speakers and that they are trying to sort the programme schedule. When they eventually come back to you, may be a few minutes before you get on stage, they will tell you all you have is twenty minutes to deliver what they initially told you to deliver in one hour.
As a versatile speaker this does not amaze me. I fix into whatever time they give to me because I have done several impromptu speeches and many more are still on the way but it gets on my nerves because I probably have told some other people that the whole day is fixed. This makes me spend several hours in places where I should not spend more than thirty to forty minutes since the people only want me to speak for twenty minutes. They make me lose some of the time I could spend preparing for another lecture or writing some new manuscripts.
In any of those moments I always have something in my hand I can read or maybe my electronic Bible but I am not always comfortable because that was not the original plan for the moment. It only comes up as something I am doing to make up for the time being spent.
There are a few instances were you will realize you were meant to be a standby speaker. This means you are not the person they really want but in case their choice speaker does not turn up for the programme then they give you all the time in the world. If you know where you are going and you know the stuff you are made up of you will not get annoyed about this. In the media it is what we call the space fillers. You were not in the original plan but they had you on board because plan ‘A’ was not working. If you take advantage of this moment and maximize it then you will be amazed how you will soon begin to relegate their choice speakers. I have been to a number of places to speak and I knew so well that giving me their microphone was like a trial and error stuff for them but I am sure they got the shock of their lives.