Christian J. Hadjipateras is a London-born writer and motivational speaker. Having been born with severely complex craniofacial anomalies, he underwent over fifty reconstructive surgeries. His mission is to share his story as well as be a voice for adults and children that have similar conditions. He has been involved with two US-based organizations, Face the Future Foundation in Chicago and Children’s Craniofacial Association in Dallas, dedicated to helping children born with facial differences – both emotionally and financially. He also serves as an ACPA Social Media Ambassador.
He holds a Higher National Diploma in Business from Southampton Solent University and has also studied film and production at the London and New York Film Academies. Passionate about film and production, Christian is also working on his first screenplay. He has also been featured in Authority Magazine, ThriveGlobal.com, and contributed to PopSugar.com, Buzzfeed.com, HuffingtonPost.com, and has an active blog on Medium.com.
Why did you choose the career as a Motivational Speaker?
I was born with severe craniofacial anomalies and underwent over 50 reconstructive surgeries up until my mid-20s. Although I’ve written about my experiences from a young age, it was always my desire to eventually become a motivational speaker and to be a voice for adults and children living with facial differences – particularly the psychological impact it has. We’ve come a long way as a society when it comes to tolerance and acceptance, but there’s still a way to go.
What are some of the most popular topics you discuss in your talks?
Mental health without a doubt is one the most important topics. Nobody should ever suffer in silence. Although I was blessed with a loving family, extended family, and close circle of lifelong friends, I went through adolescence not opening up when I should have done. The psychological impact of having facial differences really hit me around my early teenage years and I know now that things would have been easier if I’d spoken more about my struggles.
What advice would you give to others who want to pursue a career as a Motivational Speaker?
The best piece of advice I could give is to work on your delivery. Having been born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate, I had intense speech therapy during my early years. Although my speech has improved drastically, it did hold me back at times – and still does sometimes. It’s about the practice and having confidence in yourself.
How do you ensure your talks are interesting and informative?
I think it’s important to give a general overview of what your talk will be about before really getting into your talk. It gives your audience a structure in terms of what to expect.
How do you connect with your audience and keep them engaged?
I find that mentioning a specific story or experience can really help keep your audience captivated. In addition to that, it obviously always important to make sure they leave your talk having got the message you wanted to give.
What would you say is the most difficult part of being a Motivational Speaker?
From a personal point of view, I have to be at my best speech-wise. Although my speech has improved hugely since my childhood, I always have to remember to speak loudly and clearly.
What systems do you use when researching motivational topics and themes?
I don’t have a particular one, but I do think it’s important to listen to other speakers who focus on a similar message to yours; certainly not in a competitive way though because our aim is the same.
Most motivational speakers have written a book or multiple books. Do you have any books in the pipeline?
I don’t currently have any plans to write a book, but I am working on my first feature-length screenplay. I lived in Los Angeles for a couple of years and worked at a TV distribution company. I also attended both the New York and London film academies and obtained producer and screenwriter’s certificates.
What projects are you working on?
My screenplay is a fictionalized account of some of my experiences and centers around a young man searching for the right path to take. It’s a bit of a Good Will Hunting meets Ordinary People.