My speaking career technically began while I was in the classroom. I was getting paid to teach and coach, and that was done primarily by speaking. Therefore, when I left the classroom, my professional network basically consisted of teachers and coaches. So you can probably guess where the first few speaking requests I received came from--teachers and coaches. Friends inviting me to visit their classrooms or drop by their practices to share a word of encouragement with their students or athletes.
What I learned quickly was that not every speaking engagement would be the most glorified opportunity. What I also learned was that it didn't have to be because it was still an opportunity to influence someone in a positive way.
Looking back, if I could point to one thing that served as my "secret sauce" for success early on, it was my excitement. I was fired up about every chance I got to get in front of a few folks. And as a speaker, you have to approach every single talk (regardless of the demographic or size of the audience) with excitement. People need to see that you want to be there. Additionally, God shaped the human heart to be influenced by words. That said, you never know whose life will be drastically impacted for the better by your words. It's important, then, to be mindful of how you say what you say, not just what you say.
Public speaking is a wonderful and rewarding career that transforms and changes the lives of people.
If you found your way to this blog post in search of a bit of baseline advise on speaking, here it is: get excited and stay excited. Whether it be the 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders at your local elementary school or the senior leadership team for a top firm that you're addressing, be excited. Every audience deserves your best, and I am convinced that you cannot deliver your best void of your excitement.
So, if you're only going to pack one thing for your next talk (in addition to what you're going to talk about of course), let it be your excitement. Don't leave home without it.
Love you guys. Let's grow.
Download a copy of my latest eBook, The 8 Be's of an Effective Speaking Engagement (Simple Tips for Making the Most Out of Any Talk). It's simple. It's practical. It's applicable.
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