Me no think I should speak.
March 13, 2007 9:38 PM   Subscribe

Should I give the keynote speech at my local community college?

I have, for reasons that are a little beyond me, been asked to give the keynote address to the graduates of the community college of my fair city. I did graduate from there over 10 years ago, with a diploma in Theatre Arts. Like, c'mon. I did not go to the ceremony back then. The college is a whole mish-mash of very practical training programs from an Acting Conservatory (where I came from) to high-end culinary classes to all things mechanical. I guess my question is: aren't people who give keynotes supposed to be *important*? I'm barely 10 years out of school! While I have had my share of small successes, I hardly think they qualify me to give a keynote. It's a bit embarrassing. What should I do - suck it up and give a 10 minute speech (gulp!) or some how politely decline this dubious honour without offending?
posted by typewriter to Society & Culture (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If they think you're important enough to invite you to give the keynote, you're important enough to give the keynote. Do it.
posted by jayder at 9:44 PM on March 13, 2007

It's about whether they think you're important enough, not whether you do

besides, a great key note speech from a nobody beats a droll speech from some big time celebrity

give a good speech, and that's all that matters

so i guess the question is, are you capable of it?
posted by Salvatorparadise at 9:53 PM on March 13, 2007

Best answer: I think it sounds fun. If you're flipped out about doing it, then by all means don't, but if you give a good speech and have something useful to say, by all means go. The woman who spoke at my graduation (I think it was mine, I lump a lot of them together) was no one I had heard of, but she had a neat speech, was funny and lively to listen to and left things on an up note in an otherise forgettable graduation which I will always be happy for. That's a lot better than some famous person giving their stump speech and getting out of town.
posted by jessamyn at 10:02 PM on March 13, 2007

Best answer: When I was 19 or 20, I would have been thrilled to hear a keynote from a real person who had attained realistic achievements. As a 19-year-old journalism student, I probably would have been thrilled to hear a keynote from a 28-year-old who had a reporter position at the local paper. As a 22-year-old, I would have been thrilled to hear a 32-year-old talk about their work in marketing or PR.

When I graduated from university, Gracey McCarthy gave the keynote speech. As interested as that was, her experience seemed totally out of sync with where I saw myself headed. I think most new grads would be happy to hear from someone just a bit more experienced who has done some neat things, without doing something so grand as winning an OBC or whatever. (Of course, if you have won an Order of Ontario or whatever, you shouldn't be wondering if you are qualified to speak!)
posted by acoutu at 10:11 PM on March 13, 2007

From what little we know from your post, I think you sound ideal for the speech. More importantly: the people who work for the college and know its needs think you sound ideal for the speech. Go for it!
posted by sparrows at 11:43 PM on March 13, 2007

Best answer: I say go for it, but don't procrastinate on putting the speech together, and make sure you practice it at least three times before the day of the event. It will be awesome for them to have a realistic person up on the podium.
posted by bilabial at 4:55 AM on March 14, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for your thoughts. I recognize too, that they are using a former graduate of the theatre school to raise the profile of the theatre arts training. Maybe that is not a bad thing, all around. It is good to hear that a lively speech about working, really working would be of interest to graduates. I do speak to emerging actors occassionally on how to break in, so that is probably where all this comes from. So, I wasn't necessarily chosen because of some grandiose prize or something. (But I can assure you, that my wee successes would be a mere blip even for the theatre students!) I think that I can do it, but I agree with bilabial, that I must must prepare and prepare some more. Thanks all! I'm going to do it!
posted by typewriter at 5:51 AM on March 14, 2007

It's possible that "Why I was surprised to be speaking today" would launch a very interesting speech.
posted by theora55 at 12:25 PM on March 14, 2007

Response by poster: Back from some more conversation with the college. It seems the entertaining speech from a real working person with some minor accomplishments is the route that they are going for. In retrospect, it goes with the school's philosophy, which is basically their graduates get a practical education and thus, are successful in finding work. True for me even in a subjective field as theatre. I am more calm about it now. And thanks theora55, that might be a great place to start when I sit down to write the speech.
posted by typewriter at 7:14 AM on March 19, 2007

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