But with a foreign audience composed of the best and the brightest in public speaking in attendance, the applause - and the standing ovation - was a moment to remember even for talk show host par excellence Boy Abunda.
Simply put, Boy took the spotlight during his scheduled speech at the Asia Professional Speakers Convention held in Singapore last month. He owned the moment, seizing it like a hungry man at an all-you-can-eat convention.
The theme of his talk, Don’t Just Be A Speaker, Be A Star, provided him the perfect platform to share his thoughts on his decades of experience and wisdom as a talent agent, star maker, and television personality. It was a moment of perfect timing - the time, the place, the topic, and the speaker came together to create a fitting debut for Boy‘s public speaking career.
Dubbed “The Fab Sermon: Don't Just Be A Speaker, Be A Star", the hour-long speech turned out to be an engaging showcase of insight and inspiration delivered with truthfulness and impact.
Right off the bat Boy grabbed the audience attention with his short introduction of himself: “I am not a professional speaker. I am a talk show host, an interviewer, and like you I use the same fundamental tools, "my words, my heart, and my truth.”
And he stole the show right from there!
Ethel Odilao, a certified John Maxwell speaker, observed of Boy, “He was outstanding. He exudes confidence facing an audience of global topnotch speakers.”
Fredrik Haren, a world-class speaker himself who spoke in 23 countries last year, invited Boy to the engagement believing that delegates would want to hear him talk about the said topic.
Boy spoke before a crowd of 200 guests, several of whom were globally acknowledged speakers that regularly got paid upwards of 20 thousand dollars per engagement . By the end of his talk, Boy was rewarded with a ten-minute standing ovation.
“It is difficult to dance ballet with the best ballerinas around,” Boy shared, “So to prepare, I went to the ballroom the night before, walked around the stage, introduced myself to the stage, measured how far I should be from the tables. That was the first time in my career that I ever did that kind of preparation. I was that unsure.”
Boy had only bullet points. No written speech. He had some power point presentation. And then he prayed.
Never shy of expressing truth within him, Boy recalled, “In Singapore I went on stage proud of my story. I said I’m Boy Abunda. I believe in God. I love my mother. I’m proudly gay. I have a partner for life. I’m a talk show host. I’m an interviewer. I’m a teacher, a student. I am proudly Filipino. Everything else is a footnote.”
The speech was a memorable experience for Boy who wasn’t expecting to get the audience’s nod. He said he’s extremely happy to have done well, and probably for the first time in his career of great talk, he and his team humbly thought he was actually good.
A voracious reader who keeps himself informed and inspired by famous speakers, from Martin Luther King to Bill Clinton, Boy admits that he also wants to become a professional speaker like the people in the audience who gave him that ovation. He also revealed that he is in the process of organizing and aligning Filipino speakers to the international speakers association.
His team is likewise solidifying a TED talk-like concept to bear his name, as well as meeting up with foreign speakers interested to connect with his advocacies.
For Boy who has taken masters in communications and a doctoral degree in social development, Singapore talk is just tip of the iceberg.
In sharing her amazement at Boy, Odilao added, “His expertise as a star builder is exemplified in his speech as he enumerates his own version of Speakers Beatitudes and his guide list of What Makes A Star A Star.”
For that said list, Boy counted 13 Things that include charisma, presence, network, and the “immutable law” that nothing lasts forever.
There is no slowing down for Boy Abunda. Like what he has done all throughout his storied career, he will come up with innovations, much like his never-ending ideas for slogans like Usap Tayo, Susunod, Abangan, etc.
“The familiar is not as exciting as the unknown. I’m running after anything that is not within my realm of control.”
During his well-lauded speech he rousingly ended it by advising “don’t forget to get paid; if not at least get laid," to the delight of his audience.