Why I Was Disappointed in Monica Lewinsky as a Speaker: Although She Knocked My Socks Off

I was super excited to hear Monica Lewinsky in person. I can remember “those days” and “that woman” about as clearly as I can remember anything in my life.

When I had the opportunity to hear her speak in person, super excited. I did my due diligence. I heard she had a great TED TALK, viewed over 13 million times. I listened to it, super impressed. Here was a woman whose life had been at the very least changed and at the most ruined, by a single act as a young woman. Her opening line, “At 22 I fell in love with my boss”, shocked and changed me. Although I had lived through the storm as an observer, I had not put the events in that perspective. How simple, how true.

I t was with excitement that I went to hear her speak. The way my schedule worked out that day, it was the second time in the same day I drove to Cleveland. I sat through the obligatory boring pre-speaker program, sat through the almost not eatable “vegetarian” meal, and waited for the highlight.

Don’t get me wrong, she was a good speaker. She is amazingly beautiful. Amazingly articulate, vulnerable and strong all at the same time. Here is the reason I was disappointed: I didn’t hear anything that I could not have heard in her TED TALK.

I believe that an audience should get something in a speech that they could not have received by missing the speech. I should have been rewarded for driving to Cleveland twice in the same day, sitting through the program, driving back home on that now-always-under-construction-271, with something I could not have gotten from the TED TALK.

I did not. I did get to see a woman that life had totally humbled and humiliated, rise above her past. She is a Master’s Degree carrying social activist and anti-bullying expert. She lived through the worst humanity has to offer the human spirit and came out the other side.  And seeing and hearing that is monumental. All of our challenges in life will pale compared to hers.

As a speaker I needed something more from her. Just one thing. Give your audience something that all the other people that did not leave their Lazy Boy chairs, could not hear.


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