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Writing and Speaking = A Marketing Cycle at It’s Best for All Businesses

Question: Which came first, the book or the speech as a marketing tool?

Answer: It doesn’t matter! They are both fantastic and you can use both to sell the other!

It doesn’t matter what you do in your business. Being successful boils down to one thing: getting people to pay you for your products or services. Even if your main source of business is referrals, those referrals still need a way to discover what you’re all about. How do you do that? There are only two primary ways: in writing or by speaking. Everything else is an offshoot of those two basics.

Think about it. Even if you don’t have an official speech or you haven’t written a book yet, someone is going to email you or call you. And then you’ll have to answer in writing or by speaking to them on the phone or in person. Or they are going to Google you and run into your website where there is writing and hopefully video of you welcoming them. So let me ask you this:

Are you busy?

The answer is a big, huge, OF COURSE YOU’RE BUSY!!

So one more question: If you’re busy, why not leverage what you’re already doing to make your marketing and your life easier?

As a speech trainer and communication consultant, I’ve been on stages everywhere since the very beginning to market my own business. I started speaking in front of audiences of hundreds of people since the time I was 7 years old; so it’s natural to me. What wasn’t as natural was writing my first book. But here’s how I did it.

  • Step 1: I wrote a bunch of specific blog posts about various topics I knew my potential clients wanted to hear more about because audience members were asking me the kinds of questions I answered in the posts.
  • Step 2: Then I turned those blog posts into a fixed-term 12-week private membership site, which allowed me to fill in any blanks of tying that content together, as well as including specific activities members could do to help them implement the content.
  • Step 3: I took the 12-week membership site content, and turned that into 12 chapters of a book, plus wrote an introduction and conclusion. I added a quiz on Communicating with Confidence for one of the chapters, had the whole thing edited, learned what to do next from Kristen Eckstein to get it into print and self published that baby.

I wanted to write a book because it’s been one of those life-long bucket list things for me. Plus, most speakers worth their fee have at least one book published. So now I had a book. But then, that’s when something interesting happened.

People started to ask me to SPEAK about my book.

And then at those events where I was the featured speaker, audience members would buy my BOOK.

Then people who saw one or the other or both started HIRING ME.

It was AWESOME! One led to the other and back to the other and so on and so on…

As I went on, I decided I wanted to have some better marketing materials. Because the book and the speech were working SO well for me, I wanted to get them in front of more people. What I needed was a Speaker One-Sheet (or Author One-Sheet, depending on if you wrote your book or your speech first! LOL)

The one-sheet is a printed single-sided, brief marketing piece you can put on your website as a PDF or print and send to meeting planners about your topic. It looks all fancy and professional-like, which is how you want to portray yourself as an author, speaker and consultant, in case you didn’t know.

Next came the problem of the proverbial cobbler’s children having no shoes (that would be me not having a one-sheet!).

Shelley Hitz

Author and Speaker Shelley Hitz’s One Sheet

I know that a one-sheet is an important marketing tool. But (luckily) I was too busy to go through the gyrations of having one made. Finding a designer that didn’t flake out AND who understood me and what I wanted, trying to figure out the look and feel I wanted to convey, deciding what to put on it, well, it was time-consuming. And I realized, I’m not the only one who doesn’t have time for even the things that I know should get done.

So I created these Speaker One-Sheet Templates (using Powerpoint of all things!), because I know how to use Powerpoint and now I can crank one out in mere minutes. No hassle. Dozens of other speakers and authors have been using them, too and they all love them.

Author Shelley Hitz said:

I’ve been needing an updated one-sheet for the speaking I do and have been procrastinating hiring someone. I personally bought one of Felicia’s templates and within an hour had my one-sheet ready and added to my speaking page! WooHoo!

These speaker one-sheet templates are fast, easy, and give you a professional way to be sure you are using the full power of the speaking – writing marketing cycle.

Sports, Speaking and Sponsorships

Quick… Which sport brings in the most money in the US: the Super Bowl? World Series? NBA Finals? If you guessed any of those you’d be wrong.

If you’re a nightline_screen_capprofessional speaker, or want to be, the answer to this question may just provide the insight you need to get your share of the $31 Billion sponsorship market.

Nightline’s Rebecca Jarvis reported last week on ABC News the US Open is actually the most lucrative sport in the country.

Check out these stats:

  • The prize money for the male and female winners is $3 million dollars each.
  • Last year the Open brought $720 million to the local NY economy.
  • Over 700,000 fans attended; almost 9 times as many fans who attended the Super Bowl
  • While tickets are affordable and can be purchased at just $20-$30 each, compared to the thousands for a ticket to the Super Bowl, the average income of tennis fans is $150,000 per year, while the average football fan’s income is much less at $94,000.
  • One of pro tennis’ stars, Maria Sharipova, is the highest paid female athlete in the world and has been #1 on the Forbes list of women athlete earners for the past 10 years at $24 million per year in winnings and endorsements. Serena Williams, another pro tennis star, isn’t far behind at $22 million per year.
  • Professionally done hair, make-up, nails and even custom-designed tennis dresses for the athletes are all par for the course (to mix sports metaphors) before competing at the Open and other major televised tournaments like Wimbledon and the French Open.
  • Attendees will dine on 3-lb. porterhouse steaks (for $125 a pop) and French champagne served up by top brands like Moët et Chandon and celebrity chefs like Morimoto, who are there because of sponsorship dollars.

If you’re looking for sponsors for your speaking business, you may want to know details like these.

Why?

Because knowing stats like these and how to use them to speak to potential sponsors is the reason why sponsors will line up to give you money. They know the intricate details about their customers and target market and will pay big bucks to get access to your audience, of any size, that can deliver their message to those potential customers. The key? Knowing as much as you can about the people you are in front of and being able to effectively communicate that to potential sponsors.

I’m teaming up with Shannon Cherry to show yo all about it in our Corporate Sponsors for Speakers course. Go see all about it and get your share of the billions of dollars in sponsorship!

More Ways to Use Your Speaker One-Sheet Templates for Businesses A-Z

Wow!

Benecia Ponder One Sheet - updatedThe response to the new Speaker One-Sheet Templates has been amazing and exciting around here. People from all over the world and speakers with all sorts of topics have been snapping up and designing their Speaker One-Sheets since I launched them just 7 days ago. You can see one of them right here —>

When folks who aren’t yet speakers see them, they wonder if they might be able to use the Speaker One-Sheet Templates for another promotional product they have been wanting to market. The answer is a resounding YES!

You see, although I originally designed these to be specifically for speakers who want to get their speech details and bio in front of meeting planners to help them get more bookings, there is no reason you couldn’t use them as just about any marketing flyer. How about these ideas:

  • Artist: Showcase your art and highlight details about a current or upcoming exhibition and/or classes you teach.
  • Bookkeeper: Share your best tips for keeping receipts organized and highlight your services.
  • Coach: Describe your private or group coaching programs.
  • Decorator: Showcase your “after” designs and talk about your services.
  • Esthetician: Share photos of your before and after work or photos of your location, along with a list of your services or to market a new service offering to your existing clients.
  • Financial Adviser: Spotlight the best investments now or host a lunch and learn for potential clients and use the flyer as an invitation about what they will learn.
  • Group Exercise Instructor: Use any of the templates to share your upcoming class schedule, testimonials, and info about you and your studio.
  • Herbalist: Create a new flyer seasonally to highlight what herbs your clients should be using to protect themselves against various ailments (winter colds, flu, allergies, etc.)
  • Insurance Agent: Mail a flyer to your customers quarterly explaining new products, new regulations, and sharing success stories of clients who benefited from working with you and having your insurance.
  • Jazz Musician: Print copies promoting your upcoming shows, your website, and your current CDs or mp3s and provide them to all audience members.
  • Kinesiologist: Send a flyer to all current and past patients with a featured “move of the month” or spotlight various ailments that you can help improve.
  • Landscape Architect: Canvas the neighborhoods where you are currently doing work promoting your services and offering a free consult while you’re still in the area.
  • Marriage Counselor: Create a series of flyers that share various conflict resolution techniques and mail to past and current clients, or as a marketing tool to send to the homes in your area.
  • Nutritionist: Send out monthly recipes with photos, promote various programs or services to current and past clients.
  • Orthodontist: Create quick list for patients to post on the fridge of which foods are allowed and which aren’t with their new braces and answering some of the most frequently asked questions.
  • Proofreader: Share your personal info, outline your proofreading services, and share a testimonial. Put on your website and send in the mail to potential clients.
  • Quilter: Provide information at quilt shows on your work, accolades, and showcase photos of past quilts.
  • Realtor: Quickly add a featured home for sale or announce the sale of a home in the area. Send to all homes in a neighborhood.
  • Social Media Manager: Most of the templates have built-in social media icons; use yours to highlight your services or upcoming classes teaching people to use various aspects of Facebook or LinkedIn or Google+.
  • Travel Agent: Feature a cruise or vacation package of the month; provide new cruisers with a checklist of essentials to bring.
  • Upholsterer: Feature before and after photos of your work, mail to past customers with a special offer; give a checklist of how to care for newly upholstered furniture to all new customers.
  • Virtual Assistant: Create a top 10 list of the ways a VA can save a business owner time and money, explain how to choose and VA, and share information about your services.
  • Writer: Feature your latest book along with a description of it, where readers can read a free chapter, and info about you.
  • X-Ray Center: Welcome new patients with a comforting note about x-rays and answer a few commonly asked questions.
  • Youth Minister: Invite new members by including a flyer in your weekly bulletin that explains what youth group is about, sharing photos from past events, and inviting first-timers and their parents to an informational meeting.
  • Zoologist: Create series of informational pieces for field trips of children visiting the zoo.

And there you have it. A listing of how businesses from A-Z can use the Speaker One-Sheet Templates for FAR more than promoting speaking. Yes, some of these were a stretch (if you know of any careers that start with X or Z, let me know!), but many of these I know from experience of working with the to develop their Signature Speeches™ and businesses.  What other businesses can use these? I’d love to hear about yours in the comments!

Hot or Not? 5 Questions You MUST Ask Before You Create Your Next Offer

plansGuest post by Shawn Driscoll

You’ve spent a long time and a lot of energy and money mastering your craft and getting your business to where it is today.  And you know you’re great at what you do.

Yet, sometimes it’s a struggle to know just how to put together products, programs and services your clients will be excited to invest in.  And once you’ve designed your offer, you wonder how to get the message out in the right way—so your new program or product sells well and serves the clients who need it.

And even when you think you’ve got a great idea and follow all the marketing ‘rules’—your offering may not attract the clients you know are right for what you do. So what does it take to make sure you’re investing in the best ideas from the start?

It’s not that you haven’t got something valuable to offer.  It’s likely that you’re not asking the right questions before you plan and promote your programs and products. Here are 5 critical questions you MUST ask before you create your next promotion…to make sure your offer truly sizzles:

1. Am I speaking directly to my target audience using language they ‘get’?

If you’re not speaking their language, they can’t hear you.  It’s as simple as that.  So you have to take the time to really listen to how your audience talks about their situation, dreams and goals.  Use vocabulary they relate to.  Forget the buzz words and industry terms you speak.  Translate what you do into words they can hear and that speak to what they deeply desire.

One of the best ways to capture this is in day to day conversation with prospects and clients.  Keep a notebook handy and after every encounter with a client or prospect, write down the exact phrases they used. Record what it is they really, deeply want.  Take note of what they are currently experiencing.  Listen for what gets in their way. Track the questions they ask and the objections they raise. This notebook becomes gold when you want to start talking about your new offer.

2. Have I specifically addressed the problem or situation my ideal clients are INVESTED in resolving?

In business, an idea is only good if your audience is willing to invest in it.  I often say ‘whining isn’t willing.’  Meaning that just because your prospects have an issue they will talk about doesn’t mean they are ready, willing and able to do something about it.  Make sure your product, program or service is directly related to a problem, situation or passion your audience is eager to solve.  If they aren’t invested in resolving it, they won’t invest in your program or service no matter how great you or your content is.

3. Do I have a way to engage my ideal audience around this topic?

Are you in conversation with your market?  Do you blog? Are you visible on social media? Do you write articles or host classes, workshops or teleseminars?  All of these are fabulous ways to engage your audience around the issue your audience faces.

By engaging them you learn the language they speak, the level of investment they have in the topic, and how they are responding to your approach.  This is critical to build a warm list of people eager to join you for a program or buy a product because you’ve become their go-to person on the subject.  And it gives you a real sense of how much impact your idea will have when you launch it.

4. Is there a natural first step my ideal clients can take?

It is a big leap to expect someone to come to your site, see what you’re about and invest at your highest level of service.  For most experts, the highest level of service is one-to-one, and too often this is the primary offer being made.

Have an easier first step.  A program or product that engages them around the issue they’re invested in resolving, but that allows them to experience you without having to invest in your highest level service.

A Signature Program is perfect to use as a natural first step to engage clients, show them the value you bring and introduce them to the next steps they could take with you.  Think of using a Signature Program as way to give new clients a solid foundation for becoming a fabulous long term client.

5. Have I showcased my strengths, expertise and skills so my uniqueness shines through?

Let’s be honest.  There just aren’t that many ‘original’, never-been-thought-of-before ideas out there.  To really stand out in a crowded market and be relevant, YOU must shine through.  What’s your unique experience, story, skill or twist on the same-ole solutions your market hears every day?

There’s no right way to design a successful Signature Program or product, but there definitely is a wrong way.  And the wrong way is to model, mimic or force fit yourself into a format that doesn’t work for you and your audience. Choose a format that gives you an opportunity to wow people. Leverage what you do best and ditch the rest.

Now is the perfect time for you to reposition your business and repackage what you know and can do in a way that honors the time and energy you’ve invested, gives you a path to make a significant difference in the world and gets you the rewards and recognition you deserve.

About the author:
Shawn Driscoll, known as the “Trailblazer’s Coach”, believes the fastest way to build a respected and profitable business is to dare to be distinctive.  She’s fiercely committed to discovering what makes each business owner unique and supporting them in creating exclusive products and programs around that talent or ability. With a keen eye for strategy and a sixth sense for seeing ‘hidden’ systems within businesses, she has fast become a sought-after coach to many trailblazing entrepreneurs and leading experts internationally.  Connect with her at www.ShawnDriscoll.com

 

5 Sure Signs You Need a Signature Program in Your Business

Guest post by Shawn Driscoll

One of the most-asked questions I hear from ambitious entrepreneur is this:  How do I know if I’m ready to add a Signature Program to my business?  Over the years I’ve discovered there are five key situations that adding a Signature Program to your business can resolve.

1.  Marketing Muddle

You know you are stuck in Marketing Muddle when people ask you what you do and each time you give a different answer.  Or when others introduce you or describe what you do to their friends and followers, you feel like they’ve missed the mark.  Marketing Muddle is most common when you offer a wide variety of products, programs and services without a clear core concept that unifies everything in your business.  People love your work when they experience you, but the wide variety leaves them confused about what it is you do…exactly. In this situation, you need a Signature Program that serves as a unifier and integrator in your business.  You need to land the core concept of what it is you do so that everything else makes sense.

2. Chronic Reinvention Syndrome

If you find that every few years you are asking “What next?” and set off on a course to create something all new, you may be stuck in reinvention syndrome!  Staying fresh and on the cutting edge is one thing.  But if you are often reinventing your business you may be missing a solid core message and purpose. Perhaps you create great plans but they never quite live up to what you hoped they’d become.  Or you tire of them and go out in search of something you’re more passionate about.

Constant reinvention can be a sign that you are still searching for that elusive clarity about your unique sweet spot. Or that you believe growth comes from creating something new, rather than building something long lasting.  Going through the process of creating a Signature Program can help you uncover what it is you are uniquely designed (gifted) to offer, and help you put a strategy in place to make it stand the test of time and get you off the reinvention treadmill.

3. Content Overload

As a prolific creator you may have developed so much content through the years that you don’t know what to do with it all.  And trying to sort through it is overwhelming to say the least! It’s like dealing with years of accumulation in your ‘business attic’.  You need to sort through it in a systematic way and put all the pieces together in a way that you, and your clients, can manage.

This is why working on your “Signature System” can help.  By taking a step back from the content, and looking at the big picture of what your overall client service system is, you can figure out how to organize and sequence your content into meaningful programs, products and services. And decide what to release, reuse or recycle.

Maze4. Chaos and Complexity

There comes a point in your business growth where you hit a level of complexity that starts to feel an awful lot like chaos.  You’ve got so many ideas swirling in your head you can’t make sense of them all.  There are so many moving parts that keeping track of it all has become a chore.  There are so many demands for your time, attention and energy, you’re drained.  And you’re not sure what to do to restore order.

This may be the time to take that proverbial step back and look at the bigger picture.  Mapping out your Signature Program can help you simplify your business and strategically pull the pieces together and get you back in the driver’s seat of your business and life.

5. Dollars-for-Hours Trap

In a service based business, you start out with the goal of building a ‘full practice’ of clients to work with privately.  Your business model is built around customized delivery of your service.  And that’s a great place to start building.  But at a certain point you hit an income ceiling that you just can’t break through, even if you raise your prices or add more hours to the day.  You are essentially capped out.

This is the perfect time to add a Signature Program to your business offerings.  You’ve got enough of a track record with private clients to know what it is you offer and what clients want.  And you’re ready to create more personal freedom while serving more clients and making more money.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the day to day busy-ness of running our business.  But sometimes you need to take a step back and look at your business with a fresh set of eyes.  Going through the process of asking yourself “What is my unique solution” and then finding a way to package that uniqueness into a Signature Program can help you clarify, focus, integrate and simplify—and set your business up for long term growth.

About the author:
Shawn Driscoll, known as the “Trailblazer’s Coach”, believes the fastest way to build a respected and profitable business is to dare to be distinctive.  She’s fiercely committed to discovering what makes each business owner unique and supporting them in creating exclusive products and programs around that talent or ability. With a keen eye for strategy and a sixth sense for seeing ‘hidden’ systems within businesses, she has fast become a sought-after coach to many trailblazing entrepreneurs and leading experts internationally.  Connect with her at www.ShawnDriscoll.com

Getting in the Media 5 Times in One Week – Whew.

felicia slattery media appearancesCall it a dress rehearsal for my upcoming nationwide launch of my next book, Kill the Elevator Speech: Stop Selling, Start Connecting later this year. Except that will be carefully planned and orchestrated. You see dress rehearsals are on my mind because last weekend was also my script-writing, stage production, and directorial debut for my daughters’ elementary school production of the show I cobbled together called, “An Evening at Vaudeville.” So mixed in with the wild speaking and media appearances, were daily after school rehearsals, with late nights of getting the program finished, pulling together costumes, and getting the volunteers organized. It was definitely a busy week.

However, my appearances in the media last week were more of a confluence of getting out there spreading my message through speaking and decent marketing, mixed in with a little bit of luck, I’ll freely admit. However, there are a few factors that led to me being featured in 5 different forms of media over the course of just one week, that I think could help your business as well.

  • Local TV – I spoke at the Batavia, Illinois Chamber of Commerce Women in Business event for a paid presentation about Credibility and Cash Flow in Social Media. The day before the event, I received an email from one of the event organizers asking if it would be okay with me to have the a local film crew to videotape my presentation for replay on their local cable access TV. So some time this week my speech will appear on cable TV. I agreed on the condition that I receive a copy of the recording to use in my marketing.
  • The lesson: Whenever anyone wants to record you, ALWAYS ask for the recording. As a speaker, you need that footage to put on your website, make a demo reel from, or at the very least share on social media as continued social proof you’re out there speaking and doing it well.
  •  Local Newspapers and Magazine – In conjunction with that same speaking gig in Batavia, the Chamber group had their PR pro send press releases to all the local papers and magazines. All I had to do was approve the copy and she sent it out. I did next to nothing to get my name in the media (not to mention the Chamber’s own websites and social media).
    The lesson: Speaking for Chambers of Commerce groups, whether paid or free, you always get the benefit of the Chamber marketing on your behalf. That often means placement in local media, which gets your name out there and allows you to become the “go-to” person in your niche.
  • Blog Talk Radio – One of my clients, Brian Basilico, has his own BTR program, BLT Radio, short for Business Life Transitions. He invited me to be a guest to discuss my upcoming book, Kill the Elevator Speech, Stop Selling, Start Connecting.
    The lesson: Write a book. That’s first. When you have a book, people want to talk to you about it. Next, Blog Talk Radio is a platform that allows the hosts to store the content, so you can go back any time and use it over and over again. If you’re not sure what to say, have a look at Signature Speech(TM) for Authors for a free gift that will get you started.
  •  Podcast on iTunes – About a month or so ago, internationally-known author, trainer, and podcaster, Alicia Dunams held a contest to see who should be her next podcast guest. Alicia and I had met years ago on social media and then in person at a live event where I was one of the speakers. I was one of the finalists and because my message about speaking would resonate well with her authors, she decided to interview me about leadership and being “all in” – the name of her podcast.
    The lesson: Know the people who are influencers in your community and in your niche. Use the internet to reach out a build relationships and meet them in person at live events so they will remember you.
  •  BBC – International TV – I recently began using a new app called “Jelly” for social questions and answers, which was released earlier this year by one of the founders and creators of Twitter, Biz Stone. I tend to jump on the newest social platforms as quickly as possible to secure my username and to check it out because many of my clients often look to me to talk about the newest communication tools. Then I was emailed by a producer for a TV programme (you have to spell it that way, because, you know, it’s British!), called “Click.” They have 330 millions viewers and were conducting a story on Jelly and would I be available to answer a few questions? Um, let me think…. YES!!!! So we scheduled it and I spent more than an hour getting the camera right, hurrying up and waiting, and doing the 10-minute interview that had to be boiled down to my 20 seconds of fame. You can see it below. They found me by being on the app. They invited me through my website, I’m convinced, because I had video of me on air to show I can do okay in a televised interview situation. UPDATE – The BBC has added the video to it’s own website right here.
    The lesson: Be in the forefront in your area of expertise. Know what the newest innovations are and the newest and hottest trends. Plus do what you can to get any kind of local TV publicity. I learned from Shannon Cherry. The national and international media are far more likely to ask you to be a guest when they know you’ll be a decent guest.

That was my big week in media and speaking. I was so wiped out it took me three days to complete this post!!!
So here it is, my big moment in the international press. The story begins at 12:07 and I come in, literally for 20 seconds, at 14:26. Don’t blink!

 

 

3 Ways to Refresh Your Speaking

StartIf you’ve ever done any speaking or taken a course on using speaking to market your business, do you remember how excited you were? Many of my clients have taken classes in creating and using a Signature Speech(TM) to share their messages with the world.
Many of us, myself included, often learn a skill and jump in with both feet at the beginning. But then life and work momentum kicks back in and pulls you in the usual other directions and suddenly, you have less time than you’d hoped for that thing you were so excited about.
It’s ok. It happens. And here’s what you can do about it.
If you need to refresh on your Signature Speech(TM) or any speaking, here are 3 tips to get you moving again:
  1. Recommit.  You know speaking is powerful and you’re ready to make that happen and get on more stages. Recommitting to speaking means taking specific actions like setting some time aside to reach out to meeting planners, update your materials, start telling people you’re a speaker, and plan your marketing after your speech.
  2. Practice. If it’s been a while since you’ve done your speech, pull it out and practice it a few times beginning to end. Make any necessary changes based on new services you offer or current events in your industry.
  3. Start Fresh. You may be in a different situation than you were when you originally took my Signature Speech(TM) training or discovered speaking. Or you might have something totally new or unique you’ve come up with in your business that people LOVE that has nothing to do with your old speech. Maybe it’s time to write a new one. If it is, pull out your Signature Speech(TM) course content and put together a new speech.
If you’re thinking of refreshing your speech, this week I’m doing something I’ve never done: holding an intimate event where I’ll be writing speeches live, on the spot, for the attendees. You may not be able to get there or by the time you read this post, that event could be long over, but whatever you do, if you know for a fact that speaking is a powerful way to spread your mission and your message, find a way to get it rolling for you. Of course I’d love to help you. But in the meantime, I’d love to hear in the comments below about your powerful message and how you help people.

Public Speaking – You Could Be Boring If…

Photo Courtesy of Kurt Scholle.

Photo Courtesy of Kurt Scholle.

Do you ever wonder if your audience is as excited about your speech as you are? Or maybe, are you secretly worried that you might be boring your audience to tears?

The first step to get past being boring is to admit you are a bore on stage. But how can you know for sure? Here are a few obvious, and maybe even less-than-obvious signs:
  • Sleepers: Some people have incorporated so much movement and activity into their lives that when they are forced to sit still, like during your speech, no matter how fantastic you are, they literally collapse and fall asleep. That’s more about them than it is about you. But if you have more than one person looking groggy as you speak, you could be boring.
  • Otherwise Engaged: If your audience members are sneaking glances at their phones, zoned out, arms crossed, looking around the room, and not listening to you or your message, you could be boring.
  • You Don’t Ask for, And Don’t Get Any Response: If your entire speech is one-sided and could be delivered the same exact way by video, you’re missing the point of having people there in person. With a live audience, you have the opportunity to ask questions, elicit feedback, even – gasp- ask them to stand up and move a little. If you deliver a monologue and never even ask for so much as an occasional head nod, you could be boring.
Lately I’ve been thinking about this as event season is gearing up again and we’re all bound to be stuck listening to boring speakers. Let’s make sure we’re not part of THAT group!!!
Making sure you’re not boring is just one benefit of having a proven Signature Speech(TM) working for you in your business. I invite you to come to my 1-day only live event, I’m calling Signature Speech(TM) Shazam! That’s on Friday the 13th of September, and I’ll be writing 13 speeches for only 13 participants – and I’m guaranteeing all 13 people will walk away with their speeches DONE that day. Jump on board right away so you secure your spot before it sells out (and it will).
And I promise you one thing: it will be anything BUT boring! In fact, I can promise you’ll laugh, you’ll have fun, and you’ll be productive. Now THAT’S a good day!
So back to being boring… have you ever had to admit you were being boring? What did you do about it? I’d love to know your experience in the comments below.

Public Speaking – Always Have an Offer When You Speak on Stage for Business

Always have a product or service to sell when speaking.

Always have a product or service to sell when speaking.

Last week I had the opportunity to speak at a women’s symposium event in beautiful Galena, Illinois. My client, Brian Basilico, author of It’s Not About You, It’s About Bacon, introduced me to the meeting planner because he was going to be speaking at the same event and was booked before I was. In a typical turn of events where another speaker had cancelled (sadly this happens all the time), the meeting planner called me in a panic; would I be willing to fill in at the last minute with less than 2 weeks’ notice? Sure. Of COURSE I would; I was planning to be there anyway!

One of the sponsors of the event, the beautiful and serene Aldrich Guest House Bed & Breakfast, was host to the speakers the night before the event. So there I was, sitting around the dining room table with Brian, an expert in social media, and Traci D. Ellis, an attorney who works with professional women handling their business and personal needs. Smart people.

Yet, as we chatted about our presentations (and they both put finishing touches on their slides), I quickly learned that neither had planned to offer anything for sale to the audience, except for Brian’s book.

Big mistake.

As I explained to them, there will be people in any audience who are ready to buy something from you RIGHT AT THE MOMENT YOU ARE ON STAGE. Unless it was in the speaker’s agreement with the event that you would not be permitted to sell any products or services, then by all means you should. And here’s why:

If you firmly believe in your heart of hearts that what you do for people with your services or the results that using your product can truly enhance the lives of those who invest, then it is wrong to withhold that from people you know you can help and who need it. All that’s left to do is to make sure they know what it is you offer. Plain and simple.

Beyond that, you deserve to make a living. Yes, I know you love speaking. And yes, I know it’s a joy just to be able to share your information with an audience. And yes, of course you get plenty of benefits from speaking even if you don’t make a dime. But as one of my mentors, Jeff Herring has always said, if you go out of business because you’re not making enough money to support yourself, then you’re doing the world a disservice, robbing them of your unique gifts.  So get paid when the opportunity presents itself.

There are too many complex steps to “closing” on stage with audiences so you get the maximum results to discuss in a blog post. Even so, with some audiences, you don’t need a bunch of tricks and techniques; and they may not be appropriate for that audience anyway. Even if you never try a single “closing technique,” all you simply have to do is tell your audience members, “You might be wondering about how the details of what we’ve been talking about today can help you. I also do consulting in my business where I talk to my clients on the phone for an hour and we work out the details to [fill in the blank]. Normally I charge $250 for this hour. Today I’m offering a [discount/bonus/wh

Brian Basilico, Author of It's Not About You, It's About Bacon

Brian Basilico, Author of It’s Not About You, It’s About Bacon

atever] so you’ll get that hour for just $197. If [what you do] is something you’ve been struggling with, let me know today and I can help you.” You’re not hard selling. It might take you all of 30 seconds to say. You’re just sharing in a friendly, helpful way.

Using that simple strategy, Brian was excited when he was approached by a couple people who wanted his offer and one ready to give him a

check on the spot. Had he not offered it, the opportunity could easily have been lost, the moment past, and the cash left on the table. Instead, by simply offering a service, someone in the audience gets to benefit from Brian’s substantial brilliance. And I couldn’t be happier for him or his new client!

Do you always offer something for sale when you speak? How has that worked for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

Redeeming Myself After a Year

felicia slattery speaker

Just before taking the stage in my costume. (The hat and raincoat came off after my attention-getter!)

Almost exactly a year ago I wrote a post confessing about how I had a really off day while keynoting at an event. Lots of kind people came to my defense and many audience members who had never seen me speak before did not even notice it. However I can count on my good friends to be honest (painfully so, sometimes!), and they agreed it wasn’t my best performance.

Well, last Saturday on the same Atlanta stage at David Perdew’s Niche Affiliate Marketing System 8 (NAMS) Event, I redeemed myself!

Last year I listed the things I did wrong and what I could do to improve.

I thought this year I’d share what I remembered to do right so my performance could be greatly improved — even with another brand new speech!

  1. Planned Ahead: I knew for at least 6 months I’d be back on the NAMS stage. I also knew the reason I was going was to give myself the deadline to write my new keynote speech, Kill the Elevator Speech. I didn’t wait to work on the speech.
  2. Got Help: Even the best performers need help sometimes, just like the top Olympic athletes need their coaches. I realize that and I reached out to my smart and creative colleagues and friends to help me come up with some ideas about how to present my speech, props I could use, how to start and more. Big thanks especially to my weekly accountability partner, Shannon Cherry who gave me the idea to use the Dragnet Theme — I used it as my attention getter. Also big thanks to my buddy coach, Kamin Bell Samuel, who worked through my entire plan with me and helped me figure out what my “deputy” buttons were going to say (they turned out great, BTW!).
  3. Had Personal Motivation: I told you this was a new speech. I knew I needed a deadline that was set in stone, what Paul Evans called during his speech an “immoveable deadline” to get the speech done. My new book, Kill the Elevator Speech: Stop Selling, Start Connecting is coming out soon – and this speech motivated me to finish the book, too! In addition, I knew I’d need new marketing materials to promote the upcoming book and keynote speech and that my dear friend and gifted photographer, Tony Laidig would be there willing to record my entire presentation. If the speech sucked, so would my marketing materials and I couldn’t have THAT!
  4. Went Against the Grain and Stuck to My Guns: Yet again all the other daily opening and closing keynote speakers used PowerPoint presentations. If you’ll recall, last year I felt the pressure to conform and so slapped a PPT together at the last minute. This year,  even though I had a brand new speech and honestly could have used a PPT to remind me of what I wanted to say next, I chose to skip it altogether in favor of using props to add a visual element to my speech. As a result, I got to be creative and many audience members commented specifically on the props I used and how much they enjoyed them.
  5. Practiced: I’ll admit, I did not practice as much as I would normally recommend to my clients, but I did practice important bits of my speech so I’d know how they would sound and feel when I delivered them for reals.  I also had a captive audience in my publisher, friend and roomie for the event, Kristen Eckstein who graciously listened to me practice at 1 AM after being out dancing and singing karaoke. (Oh, I don’t actually recommend you go out and party all night when you have an 8:30 AM speech, but I knew I was prepared and I couldn’t resist spending that quality fun time with my good friends! Plus I drank only water and only sang one group song so my voice wouldn’t be shot and I wouldn’t wake up with a screaming headache!)
  6. Visualized: I knew the layout of the room and I worked on seeing myself walking in, on the stage and knocking it out of the park.
  7. Prayed: This is how I center myself moments before I go on stage. Whatever you can do to calm down and get grounded, do it: breathe, meditate for a moment, get quiet and get focused.
  8. Worked From a Full Word-for-Word Script: I know this may come as a surprise because when I teach my Signature Speech (TM) students to prepare their speeches, I recommend using only an outline rather than writing the speech out verbatim. However, there are a number of things different about this. First a keynote, which is a product in an of itself, is drastically different than a Signature Speech (TM), which is marketing tool. Also, to start I’ll be charging $15,000 per speech for my keynote, which I will deliver again and again, likely for years to come. Having a script will allow me to tweak it over time. This speech had props, jokes, and stories I wanted to get right. I put all the stage direction into the script so I would remember my plan. Finally, I printed my script and actually used it as a prop during the speech, so it worked well for a first time (and by the time I deliver it again it will be fully memorized :-) ).

So, that’s what all came together to make this year’s speech go very well. I feel like I can hold my head high with pride now with the NAMS community.

Oh- and if you want to hear my speech, you can access it and all the NAMS8 recordings right here.

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