Coping with Life’s Ups and Downs Thanks to Coach Vera
The Big Interview from Chorley Guardian, 7th October 2014.
A September Evening at Chorley Library
The traffic was at a standstill, temporary traffic lights set up on the bridge across the motorway. I hoped I would not be late. I like to be punctual, especially when I know people are coming to hear me speak. However, I need not have worried as I arrived with time to spare.
When speaking in libraries I am never sure just what the response will be, how many people will turn up to hear yet another author talk about their work, interests, and indeed in my case, my view of life. People began to arrive, a few familiar faces; one young woman had travelled forty miles; it was good to see her again. When I see her face in the audience I feel as though I want to hug her, simply for her support and belief in what I do. Another lady I know who sent me a lovely card after my last visit to this, my local library, produced a pot of home made jam: ‘a little gift for you’ she said. These are my readers, my inspiration, as also is Elizabeth, the Librarian, who makes it all possible. A young boy arrives with his mum – I promise that I will try not to ‘bore’ him with my presentation. He gives a hesitant smile, as if wondering if I will keep my promise.
One lady, as she arrives, informs us that she has been ‘dragged along’ by her friend and that really she didn’t feel like coming out at all. Not a lot I could say to that – other than to hope that she would change her mind by the end of the evening.
Other people arrived, and then a lady with a broad smile approached me to say we had spoken recently on the telephone, and that she heard me speak in Preston five years ago. Next my daughter in law, with her best friend, arrives. My welcome was complete, my listeners assembled: the rest was up to me.
Over an hour later, as I signed my books I felt, as always, not only relieved that the evening had gone well, but also humbled, especially when the lady who had felt she had been ‘dragged out’ told all of us that she was so pleased that she had come after all and that she felt so much better!
A welcome cup of tea followed with lots of informal chat, Elizabeth and the other library staff, as always, ensuring that everyone felt welcomed and cherished. Our libraries are such social centres!
As a speaker I have spoken to very large numbers especially in America and Australia, however a group of less than thirty – being a small number – lends itself well to a more informal approach. Last Friday evening was no exception.
My thanks to everyone at the library, and especially to the members of my audience. I am ‘billed’ as an ‘inspirational’ speaker and it’s a great inspiration to me when my listeners are so receptive, and as the Americans would say, ‘go with the flow.’
I am lucky I meet such amazing people!!
Hope to see you soon!
Vera Waters, September 2014
Networking at Citroen February 2014
The event went well. The first speaker was Twitter expert Cornel Sampson, he was very well informed, and then it was my turn!
I feel very fortunate that in all of the 40 years that I have been speaking publicly I have met such interesting people.
This time not only was it the people. What an amazing venue.
We were surrounded by beautiful cars and glass walls! Yards away Blackburn was as busy as ever whilst we were cocooned inside the Citroen showrooms.
Matt the manager made us all very welcome and of course Shelagh Brownlow who owns Brownlow’s Accountants wove the magic required to get us all together, she was her usual friendly, efficient self. This series of 6 events will hopefully enable Alice, with her young vibrant personality to raise money to make her charity trip to Ecuador.
An enjoyable meeting well hosted.
A very productive networking event
My thanks to everyone.
The staff at Chorley library were wonderful. They had prepared well and when I arrived all was ready for my talk which was to be followed by a book signing. It was Friday evening and those coming to the event had been promised a cup of tea and a biscuit!
It is always interesting to me as a writer to watch the people as they come in: they are from all walks of life, I never know what or who to expect. I look at their faces, their demeanour and try to see what they are really like. We are all so different, human beings we may be … but no one really knows what our life experience has been; each person is an enigma.
Sixty chairs set out, few were empty as I walked to the speaker’s chair. I love to meet people to talk to them about my work and my writing, knowing as I stand before them that my real hope is that they will walk away feeling better about themselves, that the time spent together will have placed a deposit in their emotional bank!
People ask me if I get nervous before these events. Before I reply I briefly recall the audiences I have met not only throughout this great country but America, Australia and Germany. No I do not suffer from the traditional stage fright but I am filled with excitement and an eagerness to please.
Previously cards and letters would follow my appearances now courtesy of the internet we have emails so prompt and so easily sent that sometimes they arrive within minutes of my reaching my home base.
A grey haired smiling woman approaches and thankfully reminds me how long I have known her and that she reads my books. I try to recall where we last met luckily for me she fills in the details.
Two familiar faces now coming through the door. A friend who first heard me speak in the eighties; decades later we met again and on that occasion as she introduced me to her husband he laughed saying that he was glad to meet me at last, as he had been urged to live his life according to Vera Waters.
Elizabeth the librarian who with the help of her staff has made the evening possible introduces me to the audience. As I begin I notice a man with glasses sitting to my right he has a familiar face. I know instinctively that he reads my books, we exchange a knowing smile I have met him before but cannot recall where or when.
And then I ask how many in the gathering have read my books or heard me speak before and half the audience if not more raise their hands. A silent prayer drifts through my head … thank you God … not all strangers!
I need to find out if one of the people who emails me is here. All I know is that today she has been rambling in Hebden Bridge. I ask … She declares herself and I am reminded of her lovely email messages. An older lady sitting near the front smiles, her whole face lights up. Her make up carefully applied … she is still beautiful despite the onset of time. Her eyes send out a kind message. Did she once have the world swooning at her feet!
For me meeting any group of people is a privilege. Large or small, corporate or social, workshops, training, away days after lunch speaking every event in which I can interact with my listeners is an adventure!
As a Speaker I must be interesting, informative and most of all positive in order to reach into the minds and hearts of the audience. It is essential to join with them to share laughter, tears, joy and empathy. A good speaker must give in order to receive and be at one with those who come to listen. This is not always an easy task. Each appearance also presents an exciting challenge.
Friday was a wonderful evening for me.
My thanks to you Elizabeth Russ and the library staff and to all those who came to share the laughter and the joy with a special thanks to those of you who read my books and support my work.
Vera Waters, Author, Broadcaster and Life Coach.
Hope to see you all at my next library talk in March
Copyright Vera Waters
‘With thee conversing I forget all time’.
Milton Paradise Lost