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!
- 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.
- 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!).
- 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!
- 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.
- 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!)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.