Yesterday, I was at the Western Museum of Flight as the guest speaker to give what I call my “Grandpa, what did you do during the Vietnam War?” speech. The museum, located in Torrance, CA publicized my presentation as part of the museum’s ongoing Celebrity Lecture Series where people come in and talk about their experience in aviation. So I was honored to be one of the speakers and I got to meet an old friend.

The old friend was a T-28B owned by David Hill, a retired Delta Airlines Captain and a museum member, flew in his T-28B and I got to climb into the cockpit. The avionics had been modernized but inside the cockpit, it had a very familiar smell of burned fuel and oil only radial engines make. This particular T-28 spent some time in Laos before it was brought home. The plane was pristine and brought back many memories of flying my favorite airplane.

I enjoy public speaking and the event was a chance to sell a few books. Another reason I was excited about the opportunity because it was going to be recorded. It wasn’t about ego, but more about needing to build my “reel” for my budding career as a professional speaker. I’d like to see what I looked and sounded like in front on audience so I can, as they love to say in the sports world, improve.

Normally, when I give presentations, I have a hand mike wired to the system or one that is wireless. Or better yet, a wireless one clipped to my shirt. Either way, I can walk around and not be chained to the podium. I find this helps me connect better with the audience and make me a much more dynamic, effective speaker.

At the museum, the set-up was different. The mike for the audience, which numbered about two hundred was clipped to my shirt. The mike being used by the videographer was mounted on the podium. They only had one camera and I was asked to stay at the podium and not move around.

Next challenge. The large flat panel displays were next to, but not behind me. So, now I couldn’t walk around and couldn’t point to the screen with either a laser pointer or my hand. The solution was to say in the upper left of the screen you can see…..”

So, like the way many flying stories start, “there I was in the helicopter, with a transmission chip light, one hydraulic system had failed and dumped hydraulic fluid all over the cabin….” this speaking story will start with “there I was, a prisoner of the microphone in front of an audience eager to hear what I have to say…”

It was fun and the presentation was very well received. I’ll get a CD with the presentation and some pictures. And, I sold a lot of books. Being a prisoner of the microphone wasn’t so bad after all.

Marc Liebman

July 2017

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