- January 15, 2018
- Posted by: Topher Morrison
- Category: 49 Things Before I Turn 49, Life as a Professional Speaker
As of #33 – Run for Mayor, I imagine I’ll be doing several things I’ve never done before. Whether or not I’ll get to them by the time in turn 49 on January 20th remains to be seen; but this was a big one for me, and I don’t mind admitting that it was also one of the most terrifying (which is strange, because I’ve been speaking professionally for 30 years). Throughout that time, I’ve answered questions from audience participants, but this is the first time that reporters have been the ones asking questions and recording and scrutinizing every single word I say.
This got me thinking… what if every time someone asked us something, especially when in public, like in a seminar or presentation format, we gave that answer the same level of importance to detail and accuracy that is needed in a press conference?
I’m the first to admit that throughout my career as a public speaker, when asked a question, more than once I’ve thrown out a statistic that I couldn’t remember where I heard it, but somehow thought that if I threw the word, “about” in front of the stat, it made it okay. After all, it was just an approximation; and it was to the best of my recollection. I think as professional speakers, we could all do better.
This press conference was the first in many setbacks and challenges I will face while running for Mayor of Tampa. First, we were upstaged by a local school official holding a press conference about their exoneration in a child abuse case. So no TV showed up. When this happened, I was disheartened. I really wanted to make a big splash on the political scene, and without TV there, I knew I wouldn’t hit the masses with just print. While discouraging at the beginning, as I reflected on it later, it was a blessing, because it was not my finest performance. I was nervous. I was raw. I wasn’t as prepared as I would’ve like to have been, and I think I might have been having a fever at the same time, as this whole week I’ve been sick with one of the worst epidemics to hit the world since the plague. I’m talking about a man cold. I’m not sure what gene women have that make them immune to this, but they should be grateful. It’s clearly the worst thing in the world. But I will survive.
At the event, I was touched to see some local business owners who came out to support me and stand with me during the conference. We held the event at 1895 Kitchen – the oldest building in downtown Tampa. I did that specifically because I wanted to honor the rich heritage of this city, and also have this historical landmark add one more milestone to the books – that on January 8, 2018, a new vision for Tampa Bay was announced; and that such vision could take us into the future.
While I was grateful for all the people who showed up to support me, there were three that made the biggest impact. Dale Gordon, the former Film Commissioner of Tampa Bay and my new Campaign Manager. My work-wife Jodi, who is by far the most loyal friend I’ve ever had. It’s an honor to have her work with me. I would have never guessed I could be so connected to someone whom I’ve only known for five years. It seems like I’ve known her forever. We are clearly cut from the same cloth. And lastly, my Macie. The best 4-legged child I could have ever hoped for. I was so grateful she behaved during the press conference!
The following day, there were three articles written about the press conference: The Tampa Bay Business Journal, The Tampa Bay Times, and Florida Politics. (Links of the articles attached to the names).
I look forward to holding many more press conferences over the year to come, and I’m sure that each one will get easier to do and I’ll find my groove. Now, off to another adventure called Raising Campaign Funds. Ugh… #ItsWorthIt