And Experienced Speakers Who Want More Bookings
By Motivational Keynote Speaker Connie Podesta
I’m often asked by new speakers what my absolute #1 best advice would be. With more than 25 years under my belt speaking from stages literally all over the globe, I could probably create a master class and go on for days, but really I believe it comes down to these three things:
1. It is all about the AUDIENCE’S story—NOT YOUR story. What I mean by that is so often speakers hit the stage, grab the microphone and proceed to tell THEIR story over and over again. How they climbed a mountain, won a medal, or overcame some incredible obstacle. Don’t get me wrong—those are amazing things. But…they are usually NOT amazing enough to carry your speaking career long term. Sounds great, right? But the truth is in most cases YOUR STORY is NOT enough. Especially in the corporate world. Most clients pay speakers a good fee because they want to increase sales. Or profits. Or market share. Teach their team how to attract more customers. Lead in amazing ways. Collaborate. Innovate. They want you to bring something to the table that delivers added value and improves their bottom line. And the truth is for most audiences hearing that you climbed a mountain and almost didn’t make it down or survived cancer or grew up in poverty does NOT help them next Monday morning when the phones are ringing and numbers are down. The question to ask is this: “Is YOUR story going to resonate with every member of your audience in a way that they can actually relate enough to take the message and begin change their lives?” When you focus on the audience more than on yourself, you will begin to truly CONNECT with: Their experiences. Their challenges. Their victories. Their fears. Their deepest concerns. And that is when you begin to MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
2. Ditch the ego. Truth be told anyone who knows me knows I have a healthy ego. And as speakers, we need that extra confidence in ourselves. That rare moxie that gives us the inner power to get on stage in front of 10 or 10,000 and dare to tell other people how to live their life. Change. Behave. Think. Lead. Sell. But let’s piggyback on my first point – it’s the AUDIENCE who are the stars – not us. So use the ego to give you the boost to walk on stage then give the ego stuff a rest, drop the celebrity demands (alkaline water please!), OCD routines, and controlling behaviors and instead focus on how important the audience is and how you can make THEM the stars of the show.
Event planners are not just watching or evaluating us during our performance. They are taking notes from the first minute they talk to us on the phone. If you are like me, and word of mouth marketing is ALL that you use, then these event planners have to like us in more ways than just stage performance. I hear event planners complain about speakers who never even return their own calls. Who are difficult to contact. Who won’t take conference calls and learn about their audience. Who are so demanding about the stage setting and lighting that it delays the show. Who aren’t accessible to the audience after the presentation, or who are just plain impossible to work with.
The event planners and the audience—they are OUR CUSTOMERS. How can we teach good leadership, customer service or sales on stage when we don’t even model it in our own lives with our own customers? So I use my ego to get me the job. To even propel me on stage. But once on stage—it’s gone. It’s now all about THEM! And I constantly remind myself that I am a small cog in a much bigger production.
3. Have something they can take home with them. I’m not talking about your hand out or business card –I’m talking about real-world strategies and solutions that can help them live better lives and advance their careers. People want to be better. And they want to learn skills that will help them achieve more success. Now I realize that my audiences also want entertainment. Which is why I integrate so much humor into my presentation. I also know they want motivation—not the rah-rah kind, but the kind that propels them to take action. Learn new things. Handle change. Deal with difficult people and situations. Increase sales, profits, and market share. They want life balance and relationships they can count on. They want to understand WHAT to do and HOW to do it and WHY it needs to happen for them to achieve more success. I promise—help your audiences improve THOSE areas of their lives and you’ll be on the right track.
Here’s a quick video I did on the topic, I’d love to share with you:
If you are a new speaker eager to get your start in this industry, I hope you’ll put these three tips to work for you – and I wish you every success. Follow me on my Facebook page to keep the conver