That’s the promise I made to myself about 4 years ago now.
Never again would I stand up in front of a room full of people. I had spent the best part of 15 years doing it and I thought it was gone.
The confidence I once had to work a room, to spark conversation, to engage an audience, to deliver learning and inspiration had left the building, along with any sense of who the hell I was.
I was avoiding the discomfort and fear. I was choosing to protect myself and stay safe.
But in doing that I rounded off the edges of my life and muted out the colour. I lost the fun and joy in things and stopped dreaming.
Now I know that discomfort is a sign that it should be pursued. That there will be challenges and difficulties, that there are always obstacles. But that doesn’t mean you have to stay small.
It’s why I am so passionate about giving people a voice. Everyone has a story to share, lessons that can help others. Sharing my story cracked it all open for me. It has led me to do some incredible things and there is more to come.
So, how you can use speaking to raise your game, get visible, build a following and ultimately win more business?
I am sharing my 4 part process to really nail your story and spread your wings as a speaker:
The best place to start is with your speaker goals. There may be many reasons why you want to speak, land gigs and get on the virtual or real stage.
- You might want to reach more people with your message
- You might want to add another income stream to your biz
- You might want to do it for the thrill it gives you
- You might have a burning desire to share your story in a big way
Whatever it is, it’s good to get really clear on your #speakergoals so that you focus on the right things to take action on.
I bet you might have thought that speaking is a ‘nice to have’ on your list but other priorities get in the way?
Getting clear on this can help you to prioritise it.
So I’d love to know. What are your speaker goals?
If you want to get serious about your speaking career then getting clear on your goals is a great way to start. It was great to see the why behind your speaker goals. Now is time for the WHAT.
There are many things that you can speak about, and there are many ways that you can get clarity on those things.
But the best place to start is your story.
I call it your leadership story. It is the edited story that explains the background behind why you do what you do and the message you have to give as a result of that.
There are loads of storytelling structures that you could use for this but one very simple one is called THE WELL.
It goes a little something like this –
1. This is me. I stand before you today feeling like this/ knowing this / doing this / I am here.
But it wasn’t always this way…….
2. This is my journey / these are the challenges / these are the struggles / this the turning point where things changed
3. This is me where I am today again. These are the messages that I have to share as a result of my journey. This is why I am here. This is where I am going. This is who I am bringing with me
Simple as right?!
If you were to use the well as a storytelling structure, what bullet points would you have under each section for the parts of the story you want to cover?
I get a lot of questions from lovely peeps worried about how to prepare for a talk so that they feel confident and come across more natural and less wooden and professional.
This IS possible and it’s all in the prep.
Here are some top tips for prepping for a talk:
1. Don’t write it out like an essay. It engages a different part of the brain. Instead, say it out loud as much as possible (I do this whilst walking around the house.) You will remember it more clearly and when you go to do the talk it will sound much more natural.
2. You don’t have to start at the beginning. You can piece a talk together and start to learn it in sections. Think of it like lots of little stories within a bigger story. Start to think about what those little stories are and say them out loud. Then once you know what they are you can put them in an order that makes sense.
3. You can’t get everything in! The audience doesn’t need to know everything in one talk. Just pick out the bits that are most relevant to the message you want to deliver.
4. Capture your talk visually on flip chart paper. Use images and colours so that you can visually remember what you are saying. Put it up on the wall in front of you so that it is at eye level. Then when you go to give your talk you will look up to remember it rather than looking down.
Tell me your talk prep challenges and I will help you!
So we’ve got clear on our speaker goals. We know what story to share and we are a better equipped to prep our talk in order to smash it out the park.
In step 4 we are focusing on WHERE to share your incredible story.
There are loads of ways to find speaking gigs but I’ve listed a few examples below. For accountability, I’d love to here you taking action on some of these today!
1. Who do you know that might be able to open a speaking door for you? Old corporate colleagues? Members of local meet ups? Fellow entrepreneurs? Make a list of all the people you have relationships with already and get in touch. Referrals are one of the best ways to land gigs.
2. Eventbrite is a treasure trove for potential speaking gigs. Have a search in your local area for all the events and contact the organisers. Big tip though – don’t say ‘are you looking for speakers?’ Instead do your homework, look at the event, see what they might need and pitch an appropriate talk and why you are the best person to give it.
3. Good old google – do a search for events, conferences, expos in the areas that you would like to talk. Find out who the organisers are, find out what the event is all about and pitch them just the same as in the point above. The organisers want to know why your talk is important and the message you gave to share. Remember it’s not about you.
4. Do it yourself – go live today and share your story, or create an event on fb and invite people to join you. Arrange a meet up or gathering in your local area, or put on your own event!
These are just a few ideas to get you going. I’d love to see you take action on this. Post your findings below!
This is just the tip of the iceberg but has hopefully I have given you some food for thought to start taking action and seeing results.
Would you like more help with this? If so I have a special treat for you – Entrepreneurial Leaders Live 2018!
Attending Entrepreneurial Leaders Live is the best thing you can do right now to enhance your speaking career.
You will learn how to come out from behind your business, tap into your story and share it in an authentic and compelling way. Not only that but you will also get the opportunity to take to the mic on the day itself!
Buy your ticket between now https://helenpackham.com/entrepreneurial-leaders-live/