I usually wondered just what it will be like to be a keynote speaker or entertainer.
I’ve heard it stated that the two biggest fears to have are talking when in front of a sizable audience and falling from a great height. With that in mind, then standing at the front of a stage talking to a large audience probably makes this career one of the most scary.
We all have memories of a childhood where at some point in time we had been put on the spot to deliver a message or speech in front of the class. I am sure we all understand that sudden dryness in the mouth, cold beads of sweat on our foreheads and a sudden rapid memory loss.
How does one overcome these negative attributes of speaking. If you’re a trainer, or a motivational speaker, then you’ve probably learned to overcome these situations already. then how do you go about recovering from a point where everything seems to have gone south.
The very first thing I advise people to do is to talk to lots of successful speakers and enquire them what their biggest fear is or was and how did they overcome it.
Keeps notes of what you learn and after that study the ideas that scare you and look through your resource of information to figure out how to solve the problem.
Many people actually enjoy that slightly nervous feeling before walking out on stage and others simply delight in the energy from a good audience. A number of people are very calm and collected while others appear a little less comfortable in the spotlight.
Like many careers there is an portion of excitement that you can find addictive. Even a chef in a busy kitchen does not always know how the evening is going to turn out and lives on adrenaline at some point during a busy evening. The same can be said to be true about a speaker.
to understand and assist in reducing your fears is that everybody has come to see you. They did not come to see you attempting to be somebody else, simply you. If you are passionate about your topic then frankly you could probably improvise a speech on the spot and entertain a room full of people.
Often times, we are nervous about how will be received because we put unrealistic expectations on ourselves. In reality, we can all benefit from a dose of positive mental attitude which is probably one of the most common talks from speakers.
There are many techniques that one can use to overcome fear. The most important is to focus on the goal. Keep that closing statement in your mind and remind yourself of what you need to finish.
Sometimes the biggest thing we fear is fear itself. Our mind takes a simple and realistic fear and builds a mountain out of a molehill. Breaking down the fear in to component parts is a reasonable way to approach the problem.
Fear is very much a mental game. The former SAS soldier Andy McNabb talks of his capture in Iran and subsequent torture saying that it was simply like a board game and he was not going to let his opponent win. IN his mind he developed the mental toughness and fortitude to not give in to his opponent. He knew they would not kill him but they might break his bones. Those, in time would heal and so Andy knew he would have to face suffering but never defeat.
For us as speakers, we will never have to fear that kind of pressure. The worst case scenario is that we deliver a keynote that is not well received. We may have some damage limitation to do or a reduced fee, but we will not have broken bones or be locked in a horrible jail cell.
Another important area to focus on is getting started. Too many people make themselves uncomfortable by thinking about what could go wrong, yet, when you start you are working in your area of strength. You are a speaker, revel in the opportunity and let people see how good you are. The feedback from a group can be incredible for your conviction so give them the ability to learn from you.
The third area is that you would be greedy to not share your information. Your goal as a speaker is to inspire people or to help them learn. For this reason, your fears are not justified. They could be perceived to be self centred and greedy. Take your eyes off yourself for a moment and think of the people in the audience who’s lives might change because you overcame your fears and got the job done.
Finally – it is important to remember that the more keynotes you do the better you in turn become. Canada Speakers like Hugh Culver and Linda Edgecombe have been at the top of their game for a long period. That is because they are well practised. They have done a lot of talks and presentations and have benefitted from the fact that they became very comfortable in the role.
Whatever your fear, you can take comfort from the fact that you will become more practised, more confident and you will be recognized at some point for your expert delivery.
I usually wondered just what it will be like to be a keynote speaker or entertainer.
- So you choose to be a keynote speaker or trainer because speaking will be your passion? But you’re not certain ways to do it…. follow this advice.
The first step is to know what is your topic? What is your brand? Where could you add value to your audience? Of course, and really importantly, who’s going to be your audience?
One of the best places to start as a speaker is in your local area. There are lots of service clubs and organizations who are always interested in a speaker to fill in some time on their agenda.
In this way, regardless if you are an entertainer, keynote speaker or motivational speaker, you will be able to get some feedback in a friendly environment.
Every speaker occasionally experiences the people that really does not desire to be there. Typically you are likely to “break the ice with the audience very early in the talk but occasionally, it doesn’t happen and you know the next 45 minutes will likely be torture.
What you need to understand and take from that lesson is it isn’t only you as a speaker or trainer that has a painful 45 minute experience. It’s also the meeting planner who is struggling to confirm your validity for next years meeting!
Who is the buyer?
It is very important remember that the audience you are talking with is not your client. It is the meeting or event planner that’s your client. They, typically are most tense in the first two to three minutes of a presentation to determine if you can get the listeners to “lean in”. If you fail to break the ice early with the audience the meeting planner knows they will be hearing negative comments.
Because of this, the structure of a keynote is critical.
There’s a lot of “recipes” that are created and a few very talented Canadian Speakers who use recipes to create their keynotes but generally, this is a fairly standard pattern to follow:
Introduce the audience to a funny or emotional story, right off the start line.
Summary of what you will guide them
Take the first point – relate a story to them of how the first point is so important… some sort of crash and burn story which enables you suggest to them what you learned from the experience (or third party). Then point out the solution. In this manner, you get their attention with a relatable story and you provide them with solution. Wrap up that phase of the discussion with some ideas as to what benefits they’re going to derive from using your unique solution in their lives.
Rinse and repeat part 3 with your other points, summarizing the points to improve following each session.
Sell yourself – books, other meetings etc
Close with a summary of all they’ve learned and then give them one amazing take away story that they may never forget you for. An unforgettable joke is also a good way to close a keynote.
There you have it. A standard tactic to allow you as a keynote speaker to rock the world.
Now you have read that you may have the question in your head “Can I really do this?” The answer certainly is YES.
Too many people in the speaker coaching world will try and get you to be someone you are not.
In truth you simply need to become a better “YOU”. The world needs to hear your story. If we really take a moment and think about it we should all have a few important stories to tell from our lives that can impact others. If we do not, then we can arrange to go out and create some stories, which is the fun part!
The important take away from the article is that the audience is a tool you can use to impress your meeting planner, your client. If you learn to use that audience correctly, you can make them laugh, make them cry, make them think or get them to react. The conclusion is the audience needs to take something valuable away from the meeting and they need to remember you.
If you succeed in that regard you’re going to be an in demand trainer or speaker. You can make a career based on travel, fun and learning.