When my friend Michael Hyatt told me how he used to prepare for speaking engagements, I was surprised. He told me that when he first started speaking, he prepared for gigs like a lot of people prepare for first dates: with a sense of impending doom.
Governed by nerves, he over-prepared and over-thought. He stepped into the spotlight at each event, afraid of what would follow. Sometimes it went well. Sometimes it didn’t.
Until he created a pre-speaking routine, then everything changed.
The routine he practices facilitates what all professional speakers need: confidence. You can practice it, too!
The first part may seem broad but is certainly essential.
You must build a platform.
Your platform starts with social media, and a first class website. Without a website, you’re invisible.
Your website must include a blog. If it doesn’t have one, visitors have no reason to return to the site. They’ve seen all there is to see. A blog provides fresh content. It’s a reason for readers to return to the site regularly – and when they do, you’ve got your platform.
After you’ve built your platform, you’ve got to use it.
You can do so by adding a speaking page to your site – a link easily accessed from the home page that outlines the speaking services you provide.
Michael’s includes a 60-second video covering the essentials. One of his most important points is that he isn’t there to make himself look good, but to make event planners look good.
The person who books you to speak is the person who’ll be blamed if the event flops. Michael guarantees that he won’t be a flop, and he goes on to prove why throughout his speaking page.
Use quality endorsements.
In a follow up email after each speaking engagement, ask the host if they would be willing to write you an endorsement. Most people are happy to take a few moments to send you their testimonial.
Event planners take risks when they book speakers. Minimize their risk by showing them a collection of previous event hosts who have praised you publicly in two to three sentences.
Highlight your most popular topics.
Provide potential event hosts with a list of your most-requested talks. It serves as a menu of what you can confidently provide and prevents you from having to create talks from scratch each time you speak.
Once you begin speaking Michael says it is then important to reengineer your thoughts about a specific pre speech routine.
Michael says that when he first started speaking, his thoughts were focused foremost on himself: how he would perform, whether the audience would like him, whether he actually had something to contribute.
He had to reengineer how he thought – to focus foremost on what he has since learned:
Recognize that public speaking isn’t about you.
It’s about your audience. Accepting that fact frees you to meet their needs (and stops you from using the audience to meet yours). It prepares you to embrace the final step in Michael’s pre-speech prep:
Affirm your work.
Before your step on stage, tell yourself the truth, in Michael’s words or in your own:
- “I’m not here by accident. God sent me to these people at exactly this time.”
- “What I have to share today is vitally important. It matters to (my audience) and to their loved ones.”
- “Through Christ I can do all things.”
Michael’s routine for building a platform and his personal routine in preparing for a speech have served him well. They have served me well. They will serve you well.
Is there a routine that prepares you to step up and deliver?
Join us for what Michael says is the single best speaking conference you can attend – the SCORRE™ Conference. October 17-20 in Rome, GA. Use promo DCIBLOG to save $150 off an Intensive Level Registration!