David Kendall, after dinner speaker

David Kendall earned his living as a full-time after-dinner speaker, when I interviewed him for the Financial Times magazine about 15 years ago.

He zipped around the country speaking to all kinds of gatherings, drawing for jokes on his previous job as a bank manager.

Recently, out of the blue, I received a message from David – the first I’d heard from him since the story was published. What made this particularly weird was that I had just scanned the article I wrote about him (you can click to see it below).

Weirder still, I would soon discover that I knew David’s son, Matt. In fact, I had done one of my own first attempts at public speaking for Matt’s organisation, Interesting Talks.

Small world, eh.

Looking once again after all these years at the old Financial Times magazine story, three things hit me:

  1. The after-dinner speaker circuit that provided David with a living has all-but died out.
  2. None of us could have guessed that YouTube was coming, with more TEDx talks than anybody could watch – not just after dinner, but even starting at breakfast, and through several nights.
  3. The fees quoted in my story don’t sound bad today. Despite the passing years, few speakers can command as much. It seems that this is another area where prices have plummeted.

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