As the coach and mentor to the UK’s #1 motivational business speaker Brad Burton I have recently been invited (once again) to be a guest speaker at one of Brad’s highly successful BRADCAMPS. The topic for the day was “Be a Better Speaker” A great topic to come from such a passionate, knowledgeable and in-demand speaker as Brad Burton. For me though, it is actually quite ironic that I have ended up being a paid and in demand as a motivational business speaker.
You see, I am (by nature) a shy and reserved individual that historically would crumble at the thought of standing and speaking at any event; And nowadays I actually seek out and crave the opportunity to get onto a platform or stage in order to share my content, stories and experiences.
So why and how did I make the transition from nervous avoider to confident seeker?
The journey for me started in 2005 when I was still a rookie business coach. I had no desire, interest or experience of speaking publicly, but someone who is extremely successful in the industry said to me back then“Ian, if you want to be successful in this industry, you have to get on stage!” – It took me a little while to understand this statement, but it quickly became extremely meaningful, particularly for the industry I am in.
As a business owner it is critical you are seen and perceived to be expert in what you do as it creates trust and confidence in you as an individual. Getting on stage and sharing your knowledge and experience is an incredibly powerful and empowering thing to do. Powerful because it does indeed positions you as an expert and is great leverage from a marketing perspective. Empowering because you can’t fail to grow, learn and develop as a human being by stepping up onto a stage and standing front and centre in the spotlight (literally).
So, I grabbed this “terrifying” challenge wholeheartedly and embraced the massive learning my coach told me this scary challenge would provide. Over a period of five years I delivered literally 100’s of free seminars and workshops around the UK. These became increasingly successful until I started to get requests from business coaches asking me to coach them on how to deliver successful business seminars. A highpoint for me was an invite to speak in Los Angeles and London at coaches conferences as the winner of Action Coaches European Seminar Coach of the Year. As the time passed my fear became desire and my nerves became excitement.
Slowly other paid opportunities began to arrive and I started to become known as a credible, expert and successful motivational business speaker. Having shared the importance and value of being a business speaker I though it might be useful to share a few tips that might help you get yourself on-stage. I hope you find them useful.
- Why should I listen to you? – Earn the right for them to listen. Spend the first few minutes explaining WHY they should listen and what they might learn.
- What are you going to share? – Tell ‘em what you’re going to tell ‘em. Tell ‘em and then tell ‘em what you told ‘em!
- Be vulnerable – It’s OK to be imperfect and vulnerable. People will warm to you if you show some fallibility. Otherwise you are in danger of creating an me/you divide.
- Be Entertaining – Speeches should be entertaining and informative. I’m not saying you should act like a dancing monkey when giving a serious presentation. But unlike an e-mail or article, people expect some appeal to their emotions. Simply reciting dry facts without any passion or humour will make people less likely to pay attention.
- Passion all the way – If you can’t speak with passion why on earth should anyone listen. The connection is made with a speaker at an emotional level. This is best relayed by speaking with passion about what you are sharing.
- Slow Down – Nervous and inexperienced speakers tend to talk way to fast. Consciously slow your speech down and add pauses for emphasis.
- Tell a story – If your presentation is going to be a longer one, explain your points through short stories, quips and anecdotes. Great speakers know how to use a story to create an emotional connection between ideas for the audience.
- Get there early! – Come early, scope out the room, run through your slideshow and make sure there won’t be any glitches. Preparation can do a lot to remove your speaking anxiety.
- Put Yourself in the Audience – See it from the audience’s perspective. What might they not understand? What might seem boring? Use WIIFM (What’s in It for Me) to guide you.
- Have Fun – Sounds impossible? With a little practice you can inject your passion for a subject into your presentations. Enthusiasm is contagious.
So there you have it, from a shy reserved and introverted individual, to a platform, audience chasing motivational business speaker! I have learnt that it is completely possible to learn to love the things you hate. Please feel free to post your thoughts, comments, shares and views. I would love it it you would also share the post if you found it useful. Have a great day.