Taking Up a New Role: Guest Speaker


The last couple of months have been busy ones for me either preparing material for, or giving guest speaking presentations.

In January, I trekked close to home to Spearfish and gave an hour long breakout session presentation to young couples attending the SD Young Farmers and Ranchers conference titled Communication: In and Out of the Pasture.

I really enjoyed presenting (in addition to the fact that I just love to talk in general) on communication and understanding our spouses because I find the gender gap, misunderstanding and misinterpreting our spouse’s meanings (in a farmer’s/rancher’s case that would include misinterpreting hand signals) a highly intriguing and entertaining topic to write about in my column.


I felt confident that these young couples found my information helpful, entertaining, and right on, as I noted some elbow nudging, smiles, agreeable looks at each other, and got some good laughs when I shared some of my stories and personal examples during my talk.

I crammed a lot of information and my personal humorous stories in an hour and felt bad that the poor men in the audience may have felt like they were on relationship information overload (a topic I also covered in my presentation).


If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my own marriage about understanding how men think, it’s that they prefer getting information in small doses so they have a chance to mull it over a little at a time. Just as I suspected, there were some husbands that said they enjoyed what they learned but thought that they’d be lucky if they could remember all of it. Unfortunately I didn’t have much choice other than to lay it all out there and hope a few things stuck with them.

After I presented, I stayed for their banquet dinner and got to hear stories from other couples in regards to my topic but what was most interesting was that I got a good column from it. A bachelor setting at my table had shared his interesting insight on what he thought contributed to harmony between couples working cattle together: a good set or corrals. His comment set a column in motion for me. I was grateful to have met some great farm and ranch couples from my state and felt like I established some new friendships through the experience as well.

In February I traveled to Oacoma, South Dakota to guest speak at the South Dakota Independent Insurers Conference banquet dinner as their guest speaker.

I was told that this was a welcoming and fun group of people and after speaking for them, I had to agree. Not knowing a whole lot about insurance, I chose to use what I know about ranchers and farmers gave a humorous talk about what agents should know about their farmer/rancher clients and some do’s and don’ts when dealing with these particular clients. If laughter was any indicator, my talk was well received.

It’s very true that guest speaking gets easier the more you do it. My last guest speaking engagement I was a lot more relaxed and didn’t notice until I was done that I wasn’t even nervous when I got up in front of the crowd. I was probably more like myself than my previous guest speaking engagements: talking like I normally do, having fun telling ranch stories, being witty and playing the crowd.

I definitely enjoy my new territory for several reasons: I get to meet new people and broaden my networking, and I especially enjoy making new friends in different places but I also like getting off the place to venture to new places, have new experiences, and more importantly, challenge myself in unfamiliar territory. Guest speaking has become my new favorite source of inspiration for my columns because when I meet new people, I exchange a lot of stories that spur column ideas.

One response to “Taking Up a New Role: Guest Speaker”

  1. Kari Sanders Avatar
    Kari Sanders


    So happy it went so well. Beautiful weather we are having. Any more speaking engagements coming up?


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