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Barbara May - Speaker Demo Reel

Updated: Sep 6, 2019

If you get back up, anything is possible.

It's always interesting to look back at a project and think about the stumbling blocks you had to get past and the skills you needed to learn to complete it.

In my case, when creating my speaker demo reel, there were many stumbling blocks I had to get past. Here are my top four:

1. Getting Good Quality Video Footage

There are so many things that can go wrong when shooting video: bad lighting, bad sound, distracting backgrounds, communication fumbles and walking out of frame in the middle of a great shot. I have encountered them all. Fortunately, after shooting lots of video in a variety of venues we were able to find some great footage to use for the demo reel.

2. Presentation Time vs Video Time

In my experience, time is perceived differently when you are watching a live presentation vs when you are watching a video. In a live presentation, the speaker can take their time, pause to let people reflect and engage the audience at a deeper level with questions, interaction and activities. In a video, things need to move along more quickly and a few seconds of silence can feel like an eternity. This perception of time made it difficult to edit and I had to learn how to perceive my ideas, stories and audience interactions in video time.

3. Dealing with My Inner Critic

It doesn't matter how good I feel about a motivational speech or team building seminar, when I watch the replay on video, my inner critic attacks and criticizes everything I say and do. Learning how to put this criticism aside, and move forward, was one of the biggest challenges I had to face when creating my speaker demo reel.

4. Do it Yourself vs Transcription Service

After several failed attempts to transcribe my speaker demo myself, I gave up and checked out an online transcription service that a business colleague recommended. The prices were reasonable, the results professional and the turn around time only a few hours. I was so happy with the results I called my brother to brag about my new found business resource.

Before I could finish my sentence he said, let me guess... Rev? It turns out he's been using their online services to transcribe his security reports. It's humbling to know that my brother has mastered the art of working smarter not harder and that I could learn a thing or two about doing this too. lol


Below is a copy of my speaker demo reel transcription from with a few additions for title sequence, client testimonials and closing sequence:


I was hanging upside down in a cartwheel, getting ready to do my dismount when I heard the bell ring.



(upbeat music)

[Title Sequence]

Get Past Your Stumbling Blocks

With Barbara May

Music by Chris Ayries

Stumbling Blocks Team Building Seminars


And I said, "I fell off the beam five times."

She said, "But you got back up, and that's the only thing that matters."


(upbeat music)

♪Now that you're gone ♪

[Client Testimonial]

“She has a great story and kept the crowd motivated and enthused for the entire hour!” Brenda Kolasa, Success For Business Expo

[Client Testimonial]

“Barbara was excellent at detecting the key stumbling blocks for each person’s situation.” Carol Brandly, Seminar Participant


Well, I knew how to do cartwheels, but I had no idea how to coach.

And I don't know if you've had that experience of being asked to do something that you really have no idea how to do. And it's like, oh you'll figure it out.

Well this is how I figured it out.

I'm upside down in a cartwheel, and Spencer, a seven year old boy, jumps up, races past me, almost knocks me over because he doesn't want to learn how to do cartwheels. He wants to hang on the rings.

So I'm chasing him over the beams, under the vault.

Finally I catch him. He's hanging on the rings. I didn't know what to do, so I grabbed him, threw him on the ground, and I sat on him.


I looked up, and his parents had come into the gym.

They were like, "All right! You caught him!"



(upbeat music)

[Client Testimonial]

“She was funny and thoughtful. Such a rare package for a presenter and a fabulous end to our retreat!” Joelle Brown, St. Albert Victim Services


When we're feeling stressed, we need to recognize what does stress look like for us.

The doctor looked at me, and he said, "You're lungs are full of blood clots. Two of them are stuck in your heart, and you're going to die." Or we could give you an emergency clot buster, and you might hemorrhage in the brain and die. What would you like to do?

[Client Testimonial]

“Barbara had the courage to show us the difference between care and caring.” Dr. Curtis Johnston, Royal Alexandra Hospital


If you think about the times in your life when you've gotten past your stumbling blocks there have been skills that you've used. The key is for us to figure out what those skills are.


When I work with teams, we talk a lot about stumbling blocks, and one of the biggest stumbling blocks that teams have is communication.


All right, okay. What are you sitting for?



Okay, it says RCMP there.

[Male Participant] - Yeah I'm a policeman.

You're a policeman? Nice to meet you. It's much better under these circumstances, don't you think?

All right, so have you ever done a cartwheel before?



The reality is we all have stumbling blocks, and the only way for us to learn and grow is to get past the stumbling blocks.


[Male Participant does cartwheel over chair]

Oh yeah! (cheering)

All right!


(upbeat music)

[Closing Sequence]

Stumbling Blocks Team Building Seminars

What’s the First Step?

Call Barbara May

Discuss Your Team’s Stumbling Blocks

Bring Her in to Work With Your Team

Call Barbara May



Barbara May has a great deal of experience and first-hand information to share about overcoming stumbling blocks at work. She has interviewed business owners on the Learning & Job News, hosted Access Television's May We Talk, and facilitated more than 500 Career and Employment Workshops.

In her keynotes and team building seminars, Barbara draws upon this experience to help people come up with new ways solving problems in the workplace such as dealing and communicating with co-workers and bouncing back from mistakes with confidence.

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