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Why Public Speaking is The #1 Skill YOU Need to be Working on in 2018.

December 31, 2017

The call that we all receive.

I was in the Philadelphia airport preparing for my flight home to Michigan when my agent called me with an urgent request. She needed me to be in Chicago that night to debut a new concept vehicle to the public in front of a live-to-tape televised audience. My other public speaker colleagues were too afraid to do it because of the high stakes and minimal prep time. But that one speaking engagement opened an immediate floodgate of opportunities for me. I was requested to introduce famous bands at live concerts, perform audience energizers for national broadcasts, global conferences and even record voice-overs for radio and TV commercials. I was contracted as a brand representative for several groups for my ability to deliver companies brand messages in a way that converted prospects into buyers!

That’s when it became obvious to me that the ability to move hearts and connect with listeners wasn’t just a gift, but that there was an actual speaking formula that we could all be utilizing! Far more than just fearless presenting – but actual built in practices, strategies and maneuvers (used by the speaking greats) that can have audiences believing in your message, trusting your advice, agreeing with your perspective, singing to your symphony, eating from the palms of your hands and buying anything you’re selling! This is something we are all capable of when we understand the formula.

In both my live and online workshop, How To Master The Art of Public Speaking, I unpack the specific skills set and speaking secrets that make for the best and most engaging presentations.

And what I believe is that at least one life changing opportunity comes along every day for every one of us. An opportunity that has the power to change our lives and put us on the right path. And the best ones usually involve an invitation to speak publicly (represent your company, appear on a stage panel, and etc.). It is this one invite that can unlock major doors of opportunity for you in 2018 regardless of your level of expertise or education. But it’s the opportunity that we too often avoid because…

Public speaking has been proven to be the number-one fear on the planet. Statistically, there are people who would rather commit suicide than to stand in front of an audience and deliver. But I believe this is the missing ingredient to most peoples success. I’ve witnessed dozens of college grads completely bomb the job interview because they lack this one skill and are inept in their ability to engage their listeners or sell themselves in a way to get people agreeing to their value. But your success does not have to suffer! You can master this skill and manufacture career and life success. The art of public speaking is not just a soft-skill or a life-skill. It is a human superpower. And contrary to popular belief, it’s not just reserved for a gifted few!

I believe the entire marketplace is waiting for you to show up and that you need this skill to get you there. If you want success in your 2018, in your career and even in life, if you want to sell your products, engage audiences of listeners (from the stage, the boardroom or in a client-facing situation), then I am convinced that public speaking is the one skill you need to be working on. The most successful people are those who understand how to communicate vision and need. When you master this skill you’ll end up working less and profiting more! 

Here are 7-reasons why public speaking is the number-one skill you should be working on for your success in 2018:

1. IT WILL ESTABLISH YOU AS A TOP LEADER.

We’ve all seen and felt it. The confident leader with the kind of compassion and charisma that moves us all to inspired action. The one with that special brand of contagious energy and enthusiasm that helps us to believe in ourselves and our own possibilities (when they speak)! Ever wonder how certain leaders achieve so much? Or acquired that inspirational power? Believe it or not, there is a systematic formula to effective speaking that can fire up the brains of your listeners and get them moving to action!

People love following leaders like this who are confident in their abilities, self-aware, self-assured and can awaken those very virtues in each of us. I’ve seen employees lose their passion and heart for their jobs or a company they once believed in, and being minutes away from resigning. But ended up renewing their commitment because of a team leader who believed in them, was committed to developing them, and nurturing their personal growth. Effective public speaking has a way of putting the focus on team development in a way that helps people to see themselves and their part and purpose within an organization. This skill makes them better people for being around you. And it makes you a more effective leader because of it. It helps them to understand the vision, and to understand themselves. 

As quiet as it is kept, we all have three core needs:

1. To know that we are seen. 

2. To know that we are heard. 

3. To know that we matter. 

Whether you’re a career professional, a sibling in a large family, an athlete, or a team member, deep down each of us wants to know that we have something to contribute, a purpose for the day ahead and to know that we are welcomed in the space we inhabit, especially in the work environment! 

Leaders that are practiced and strong in this charismatic skill of public speaking end up achieving all three of these essential needs within their teams. These are the kinds of leaders we can only hope to work alongside and follow. Those with a real passion to develop us, support us and invest in our potential. The power to move others to believe in and participate in the team mission or vision. These are the leaders that help us to see our own value, strengths and the importance of the position we play. 

2. IT WILL MAKE YOU PROFITABLE.

Author, Daniel Pink said – “Like it or not, we’re all in sales now”. The truth is, you may never have to present from the stage in front of hundreds, but you are selling yourself all of the time! It’s the elevator pitch, the networking event, the job interview, the morning motivation meeting with the sales team, the Facebook Live video, the sales call, the marriage proposal, the intervention. A series of moderate to high-stakes conversations where a successful outcome is hinged on your ability to relate, persuade, and deliver your message effectively to your audience of listeners. 

As a brand manager in the field of sales, I came to learn that most people’s buying decisions were based on a feeling, an emotional connection to the presenter or the way the content was presented. My first job out of college was as a public narrator for the international auto show, where I traveled the country presenting vehicle narrations to massive audiences. Rather than merely performing dry technical scripts, my colleagues and I decided to make our presentations more emotionally charged, while weaving in personal stories. We mastered the art of connecting with our audiences through narrative. We reimagined the technical features and benefits as solutions to peoples most pressing life issues, while leading with heart and humor. The result was a massive influx of buying leads which resulted in more paying customers than we could handle at one time! 

All things being equal, people want to do business and buy from those that they trust, like and know, rather than people who have the shiniest pitch deck or powerpoint. Your listeners are always seeking connection. You can orchestrate this through the art of effective public speaking!

Whether you’re a Dentist doing an infomercial, a Linkedin career prospector, or a real estate agent conducting virtual home tours on Facebook Live, those with the communications chops to convey their offering in a way that connects to buyers’ emotional feelers are the ones who earn the sale, land the deal, and create raving fans. 

3. IT WILL OPEN UP BIG DOORS OF OPPORTUNITY.

The truth is, we all need a “commercial”. Whether it’s a new career-highlight line on our resumes, a website reboot, a podcast feature, a free workshop session at a conference or think tank, or even a mention in a community magazine. We all need to be employing effective strategies to promote ourselves in the marketplace that can communicate our value.

Have you ever been asked to represent your company at an event? Or fill in for your boss as a proxy on a panel of experts?

This is one of those magical opportunities that people usually avoid because of the fear of speaking in front of a group. But an opportunity to speak is one of the best free advertisement opportunities that you can get your hands on! It can quickly gain you recognition within the four walls of your company, in your community or even nationwide. I can remember last year when a friend asked me to emcee their company fundraiser for a city-wide initiative, a pro bono opportunity on my part. But after the event, at least four executives (from various industries) approached me and asked if I was open to exploring career opportunities. They had vacant positions in their firms and were ready to talk salary and hire me on the spot! 

This kind of exposure can mean getting hired, being shopped for a new job opportunity or better. A wise colleague of mine once told me that “we should always be shopping our resumes”. We should always know our value in the marketplace, and we should always be having conversations and networking. What better way to help the masses to see your value than a speaking event? This is what I call marketing that you do not have to pay for!

4. IT WILL ESTABLISH YOU AS AN “EXPERT”.

Little known fact: The minute you step foot on stage you are considered somewhat an expert, and a big deal. I remember (early in my career) when I first started training districts of educators on the art of classroom management and connecting with students. My nerves had gotten the best of me: What if they don’t trust me because of my being so young? Do I have enough education? Enough experience? Am I old enough to have credibility? I had already made a name for myself locally as a powerful youth speaker and had presented to audiences of 750-850 people at over 100-schools and counting, but I had never trained seasoned educators and retired administrators on how to do their jobs. I began to doubt my own credibility. But I also remembered a lesson that I learned from one of my mentors, that it does not matter if you are a minted expert or not. Once you “hit the stage” (be it in front of 1,000 people or 10 people), there is already a layer of perceived credibility just by being granted a platform and audience to deliver your message to. You are already somewhat a big deal because whomever owns the platform granted you access to it and to be heard. You’re standing on their credibility. From a viewers perspective, no one is privileged to grace the stage unless they know their stuff and deserve to be there. All you need to do now is stand confidently and deliver.

5. IT WILL MAKE YOU ATTRACTIVE.

Deep down, we all want to feel confident, assertive, powerful, become magnets for success and make an impact, which is the reason I wrote my book: “Unfollow The Crowd – The New Education for Young Millennials who Crave Purpose, Freedom and Impact”. We look up to those who exhibit these strengths. Those who are self-assured with clarity of vision and purpose. The ability to speak publicly and engage an audience, builds your confidence and at the very least makes you appear to be confident. This sort of confidence makes you attractive because everyone else wants to have this same level of virtue and power. To walk in confidence. The entire marketplace makes room for people like this. These are the kinds of people that our society brands, endorses and follows. Theses are the people we cheer on and model ourselves after.

6. IT WILL MAKE YOU INFLUENTIAL.

I can remember delivering a 25-minute audience talk at the South Florida Youth Summit, an annual think tank for STEM based students in Miami, FL. My job was to share my personal life story and success notes. After the event, I was met with a line of almost 100-people that wanted to speak with me after, get an autograph and take a photo. People shared with me their stories of how they were ready to throw-in-the-towel and quit on life. But felt motivated and refreshed after my talk.

I’ve learned that when you share your story, content and advice in the way I’ve taught my clients to do, something magical happens and it’s called brain coupling, where your message along with the brains of your listeners sync. That magical moment when your audience is engaged. They are identifying with your story and you can hear a pin drop in the room. As completely different as your life story may be from theirs, they end up connecting their pathway with yours. They take on your advice as their solution and dance to your music.

In my 2013 TED Talk, I taught the audience how this very skill can help you make your mark in this world. Not that you will change the world, but that your message (with the right strategies) will touch the hearts of people. It will cause them to think differently. And when they think differently, they will choose differently. When they choose differently, their choices will end up changing their world. When you begin practicing my speaking strategies you too will have this effect whether it’s a one-on-one conversation, or a one-on-one conversation times 500. This is real influence. It’s a ripple affect from the stage.

7. IT WILL MAKE YOU MEMORABLE.

If you want people to remember something, to feel and identify with it, wrap it up in a story. This is the number-one thing I train and work with my clients on the most, especially when they have an upcoming speaking event, radio or television interview [like my client, Dr. Jason Littleton]:

The truth is, in a talk, most people will rarely remember exactly what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel. Your listeners won’t remember every statistic or powerpoint slide. But they will remember the stories you shared. The time you failed at a task but course corrected. The time you made an embarrassing mistake but found an unorthodox solution. Those experiential lessons that we all love hearing. That is what will stick with your listeners. An effective speaker understands how to frame a lesson in a way that heals, enhances, grows and develops the people, culture and ecology around them.

My clients practice these simple speaking strategies and it works like a charm, every time. Listeners relate to their perspectives, they follow their advice, buy their products, recommend them, and those who lend them their platforms always invite them back! Something amazing happens when you follow my 10-steps in my Impact Speaking program. Even if you are someone who is deathly afraid of speaking, or don’t feel you have the right image, voice or experience, with my proven strategies you too can have massive success and impact when you speak. You can engage an audience of listeners and present any message in a way that will turn prospects into buyers, get people to believe in your ideas and support your cause and even reach and connect with the hearts and minds of a distant audience (whether you’re giving a speech, a wedding proposal, a sales pitch, or the best man speech at your friends wedding).