Someone asked me the other day, what it meant to be a successful professional speaker and how do I become one.
Hmm, what to say. I never not set out to be a “successful speaker”. My goal was to run a successful company. For me, speaking was a way to move my company’s mission forward towards our goal. Taking the platform was a way to bring our message out to a larger audience.
The first part of the process (and the first step we still take today with any new program) is to ask – “What do I have to share – and who cares to hear it?” We all have lots of things to say, but if there is not an audience looking for that message – no one will stop to listen – let alone pay you for it.
The next step is to craft the message so others will remember it and want to share it with their friends and colleagues. In a word, be “remarkable.” Nothing is as powerful as someone who has heard you speak, read your article or blog, or seen you on TV or video and wants to share what they learned from you with others.
Step three is to walk your talk. Don’t just spout witty lines from the stage. Actions always speak louder than words. Do something to demonstrate your message.
· If you speak on how to grow businesses, be sure you are growing yours!
· If your message is to help others in the community – be an active volunteer.
· If you speak on Leadership – be a leader.
· If innovation is your gig – do something innovative.
Get the message? So, you may be asking…”That’s great, but does it work?” The answer is simple. Yes.
I’ve used this simple three step process and achieved what I set out to do. My business has grown and spawned other businesses. Today we have divisions in consulting and publishing. I even got to take two years off – while others ran the business for me – so I could take a two year sabbatical to pursue my personal passion for helping other businesses achieve their goals as CEO of the Arizona Small Business Association. With friends we have founded new ventures in social entrepreneurship, been asked to help lead new and exciting companies – and I’m getting ready to buy and grow another one. And through it all I have kept speaking. Whether the audience is a small group of 15 or a ballroom filled to capacity, following these three steps keeps people talking about what we say and do. It’s remarkable.