Next Monday Michael and I will be doing a speaking engagement at the Holiday Inn Crown Plaza Hotel, in Ventura California. It will be for the Road Scholar group (formally Elderhostel). We do about four a year for that group.
I am sure you know about them. They arrange tours all over the country that usually last about a week and have a theme attached to each outing. The trips are both educational and recreational. In most cases the folks are retirees, but they appeal to people of all ages depending on where they arrange the tours, and what the theme is going to be. In our case our talks are about our book Air Force One: The Final Mission and, for the attendees, it includes a trip to the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley.
We must have done about a hundred of these talks by now for all kinds of organizations and I still get nervous before we get started. Maybe I just mistake the adrenaline charge for nerves, but I still lose sleep the night before worrying wither we will be able to keep all of the facts straight and wondering if we can keep the audience interested in what we have to say.
In almost every case my worry turns out to be fruitless. Linda, Michael’s assistant is usually with us (she keeps our knees from knocking to hard). Michael and I and know our subject very well. After all we did write the book, took more than three thousand still photographs, and video taped about a hundred hours of the journey. We should know it.
Again, in almost every case it turns out to be fun. The audience always seems to be interested in what we have to say and they ask questions of us that let us know they were listening. We have met people in the audience that actually have worked on the plane in one capacity or another, or knew someone who did. Others knew nothing at all about “Air Force One” but could not wait to see it after hearing our talk.
At the end of the talk we show a ten minute DVD so that the audience gets to see and hear some of the people we worked with, and the plane begins to takes on a life of its own, much like it did when we were working on it each day in the hangar in San Bernardino.
I guess the nerves are just part of the process. I can tell you this, I prefer the nerves to their not calling us to do these talks. I will let you know how we made out on this one next week.