In July, I was honored to induct Scott Johnson into the Podcasting Hall of Fame at Podcast Movement 2018.
Here’s the speech
Here’s a video filmed from the crowd
Go check out FrogPants Studios! It’s a magical place.
The conference was in Philadelphia, PA. I thought I would go, absorb a ton of knowledge about podcasting, put on a nice dress and smile as I picked up Scott’s award. Then I’d head straight to FedEx.
Apparently, the email with the real instructions never made it to my inbox. So the morning of the awards ceremony, I woke up in my hotel to an email that said I was doing the inducting and the speech should be about five minutes.
Let’s just say I didn’t make it to many panels that day.
Instead, I wrote. And rewrote. I left one hotel, drove to another, headed into the Starbucks and kept writing.
I’ve developed some iron-clad rules for writing speeches through the years. By the end of the day I would learn a few more.
- Speeches should be a little funny, a little moving, and short. (I broke one of those rules.)
- As with a screenplay, I want to make my speeches as circular as possible. Stuff you hear at the beginning should come back at the end.
- Don’t be a speechsplainer. That is to say, don’t lecture the audience about things they know really well. You know, like podcasting. (This one was really tempting, but in the end I realized, that is the literal purpose of a blog post.)
- If it’s a speech about someone else, it should contain maybe 3-5% information about the speech-giver. Just enough for the audience to know why you’re up there instead of say, The Man in The Funny Hat.
Any more than 5%, and it’s a speech about the person giving the speech. You’ve seen those speeches at weddings. They are not fun.
- When in doubt, ask for help.
That last one is the hardest. But I was going to be facing a ballroom full of people to tell them why someone that too many of them had never heard of was going to be getting a very heavy, oddly sharp award for an incredible career. So I asked podcasters who knew Scott really well to weigh in. And I asked The Tadpool to tell me why Scott was awesome. The replies are still coming in. I tried to fit in as many of them as I could but you should really go read these replies.
Hey, so for uh, no reason at all, please tell me, like right now, some nice things about @scottjohnson
also plz RT this, k? pic.twitter.com/SVEUekUmVb
— just jennie (@jenniej23) July 24, 2018
As it turns out, I’m lucky enough to know an actual professional speechwriter. A speechwriter who happened to be at Podcast Movement, because I invited her. (Thanks, universe.) Her best piece of advice? Always thank the audience.
And, as so many podcasters have said through the years, thank the podgods for Brian Ibbott. We sat down in one of the conference rooms at The Marriott and he read the speech, gave a few notes, and generally made me feel like it would all be OK.
As usual, the hardest thing about giving a speech is printing it.
The second hardest thing is convincing your new hotel that they realllllly have to make your new room available so you can shower because you stink of speech-writing desperation and you’re onstage in an hour.
The third hardest thing is resisting the urge to rewrite the speech until you can no longer read the speech.
The loveliest thing about the evening was our table. Coverville, of course, was there. I met two awesome podcasters, the team from Brave, Not Perfect. And believe it or not, one of my best friends from high school was there for work. You can’t ask for a deeper bench.
Anyway, I survived! My reward: as many cocktail weenies as I could reasonably put on a plate at the after-party. I left early the next morning to attend join my husband in New York for the “elderly parent management” leg of the trip.
Anyway, I’m grateful I got to give the speech and I’m really looking forward to next year’s Podcast Movement. If only so I can actually attend Podcast Movement.