5 Speaking Secrets Every Introvert Should Know

I love speaking at live events. It’s an opportunity to share my message, connect with others and create an impact.

For an introvert like me, speaking in front of a group requires a lot of energy. Over the years, I’ve learned to manage my energy while building my speaking platform.

Being an introvert doesn’t mean you have to shy away from the stage. In fact, many actors, musicians and artists have built successful stage careers, despite their introverted personalities.

Here are 5 tips introverts can use to help navigate public speaking opportunities.

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Practice, practice and then practice some more

Speaking is like any muscle. You have to keep using it in order to stay in shape. The more you practice your speech, the more you will be comfortable with you material, which lessens the fear of forgetting what you’re going to say. Speaking to groups on a regular basis will boost your confidence making the experience less intimidating.

Connect to your story

There is nothing more inspiring to a live audience than a passionate speaker. If you feel nerves creeping up, remember why you are there. What inspires you to do the work you do? How do you serve others? What have you learned that you can share with the audience?

Taking a moment to connect to your story will keep the nerves at bay so you can deliver your best performance.

Be of Service to Your Audience

When speaking to a group you are sharing information with those who need it most. The audience wants and needs the wisdom, advice and solutions you have to offer. Thinking about the information that is most important to the audience will take the focus off of you.

Channel Your Inner Sasha Fierce

There are numerous actors, musicians and artists who are introverts including Harrison Ford, Christina Aguilera and Lady Gaga. Even a powerful, fearless performer like Beyonce admits to channeling her alter ego, Sasha Fierce, when she takes the stage:

“Sasha Fierce is the fun, more sensual, more aggressive, more outspoken side and more glamorous side that comes out when I’m working and when I’m on the stage.”

Take a cue from Beyonce (and let’s face it, who doesn’t want to be as fierce as Beyonce every now and then?) and create your own persona the next time you take the stage.

Schedule Self-Care

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Speaking in front of a crowd – whether that crowd is ten people or ten thousand – requires a lot of energy. For introverts, performing and socializing with a crowd will drain your energy leaving you feeling depleted.

That’s why it’s important to schedule time for self-care before and after any speaking engagement. Carve out downtime before an event so you can reserve your energy for the stage.

After a speaking gig, you may feel a buzz from the energy of the crown and adrenaline rush. Don’t be fooled! That buzz will wear off leaving you with a “hangover.” Leave time after an event to rest, get a massage, or other self-care activity that will restore your energy.

Are you an introvert looking for support with building a speaking platform? Schedule your complimentary consultation to get started.

How to Impress Event Organizers (So You Can Book More Speaking Gigs)

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photo credit: Arnel Hasanovic, Unsplash

As a business owner, you know there are many benefits to speaking. It’s an opportunity to increase your visibility, connect with a roomful of potential clients and showcase your expertise.

When it comes to getting booked, event organizers have a different focus. They want their audience to have a valuable experience and want to recruit speakers who support their goal of educating or inspiring participants.

How to find speaking engagements + get the gig

There are many ways to research and find speaking engagements. Getting booked requires taking the next step and connecting with meeting and event planners – those who are in charge of organizing the conference, meeting or event you’d like to present at.

The meeting organizer, the person you want to connect with about speaking opportunities, is often listed on the event website. You can also search on LinkedIn to find the best contact. Asking your network for introductions and attending events at which you’d like to present can also put you in touch with the person, or people, recruiting speakers.

Perfecting the Pitch

Event planners are busy people. In order to get their attention and make a great impression, there are a few things that go into the perfect speaking proposal or pitch.

Each event has different requirements they request when requesting speaker applications. Often they look for a brief topic/session description, bio and past speaking engagements you can share.

When it comes to submitting the application there are a few rules of the road to help you get the Yes!

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Photo credit: Corinne Kutz, Unsplash

Make it relevant

You are eager to speak and get in front of a crowd, but it’s important to make sure your topic is relevant to the event and audience.

Short and sweet

As mentioned, event planners are very busy managing logistics for the event, working with vendors in addition to creating content and recruiting speakers. They may receive hundreds of inquiries and applications each day. Session descriptions, proposals and any email communications are well received when they are brief and to the point.

Present a unique point of view

Event organizers will receive hundreds (or thousands) of applications depending on the size of the event. Because of that, you want to present your topic with a unique approach. For example, if you want to present a session on “Yoga poses that will keep you energized throughout the day”, why not take a different perspective by offering to present “5 habits that are draining your energy (and the yoga poses that can help).” Offering a fresh and different point of view will help you stand out from the crowd.

Make it personal

When applying for multiple speaking engagements it’s tempting to copy and paste the same material. However, submitting an application that is tailored specifically to that group works best. You know how you feel when you get cc’d on a mass email, right? Now think about a time you’ve received a letter or email written specifically for you. It shows the person has taken time to craft a message that speaks to your interests or needs and generates a sincere feeling. Why not take a few extra minutes to craft a personalized message when submitting a speaking proposal?

Take Action!

Now it’s your turn to get those applications going. Make a list of events where you’d like to speak in the next three months. Choose one and craft the perfect pitch using the guidelines above.

If you’d like support with writing a proposal and finding speaking engagements, schedule your complimentary consultation today.

Get to know your audience, John Hughes style

When movie director John Hughes passed away, several actors from the infamous “brat pack” were interviewed about what it was like to work with the director.

A reporter asked Molly Ringwald how she was cast as Samantha, her character in Sixteen Candles. Turns out, Molly never auditioned for the role. John Hughes had pulled her photo from a stack of casting head shots. He posted her photo above his desk and began to write the script for the girl in the photo. This teenage girl he’d never met became his muse.

He imagined what life was like for her. What was her daily routine? Who were her friends? What were her interests? Dreams? Fears? So began the story of Samantha Baker and Sixteen Candles.

Getting to know your audience whether fictional or real, is the key to powerful storytelling. Like John Hughes, you have the opportunity to get inside your audience’s heart and mind.

Doing so, will empower you to create a presentation that resonates, inspires and makes an impact.

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Photo by Camille Orgel on Unsplash

Why you need to know your audience

Learning about your audience is what will help you create a story that resonates, inspires and makes an impact. Understanding your audience in detail – who they are, what they care about, what keeps them up at night, what problems they’re facing and solutions they are looking for – will help you tailor your presentation to hit on each of these elements.

It will help them feel understood as if you are speaking directly to them. This builds trust and will establish you as a thought leader.

In addition to creating connection with your audience, it will also help you identify which speaking opportunities are right for you. When you know your audience well you can begin to select engagements that attract your key audience saving you time and energy chasing after gigs that are not a fit.

How to understand your audience

As a speaker and entrepreneur, you know who your ideal audience is and what they care about. It’s important to – revisit your audience – or dive deeper because it will eliminate any assumptions or blind spots you have about who they are. It will help you update any information that may have changed and you may uncover new insights!

So how can you get to know your audience better? Here are a few ways to get started:

Interview your current clients

You spend time with and work with them daily. When was the last time you had a conversation that wasn’t related to business? When was the last time you asked about what they are working on, what their goals are, what challenges they’re having?

Why not take the time to find out? Set up a time outside of your regular appointments to hop on the phone or take them out for coffee. Ask a few questions to get the conversation started and then listen. Let them tell you where they are and what, if any guidance or solutions, they’re looking for.

Survey your community

Surveys are a fast, inexpensive way to learn about your audience. Use tools like SurveyMonkey or Typeform to create a questionnaire and then share it with your community. Send it to your clients, newsletter subscribers and share it on social. Within a few days, or hours, you’ll have new information and insights about your audience that will make your next presentation more impactful.

Leverage social media

If you blog or vlog often, you’re sitting on a goldmine of information. Go through old blogs and read through the comments to glean information about what your audience wants to needs to hear most. Go through your Facebook pages or groups to find out what’s hitting home with your audience.

Gathering all of this information will help you get into the heart of your audience members. The next time you write a speech, you’ll know exactly who you are writing to and what message will make a great impact.

If you’d like, create a fictitious audience member. Give her a name, print out a picture and hang it in front of computer. It worked for John Hughes. Why not you?

Want to understand your audience and make a greater impact? I’d love to help! Reserve your complimentary consultation to get started.

What is the message you were born to share?

What is the message you were born to share?

Do you have the desire to be a speaker, but worry you don’t have a story to tell?

You are not alone. I hear this a lot when speaking to entrepreneurs who feel called to share their message in a bigger way, but don’t think they have a powerful story.

Have you ever looked at the pros – those entrepreneurs, speakers and thought leaders who have built a big platform, deliver amazing TED talks, and grace the stage at national events – and think to yourself, “I could never be like them because I don’t have a story.”

Perhaps you think your story isn’t compelling or “BIG” enough.

If you’ve ever felt like you don’t have a story, I’m here to tell you:

Everyone has a story to tell. Yes, even YOU.

Let’s dive into a few ways you can craft your signature story:

Define Your Story

Like finding your voice, your story will take time to develop. It’s important to take time to uncover your story.  To dig beneath the surface to uncover gems – the experiences, challenges and adventures you’ve forgotten about.

Here’s an exercise you can try: draw a line on a sheet of paper. The line represents your life with one end representing the day you were born; the other, the present day. Begin to fill in all the key milestones in between – graduations, marriage, moving, career changes, children, writing a book, traveling, and so on.

Review all of the events and achievements over your lifetime. What did those experiences teach you? Is there a pattern or theme? That’s usually a key element of your story.

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photo courtesy rawpixel.com on Unsplash

What’s the Journey?

What is the transformation you help your clients achieve? For example, if you’re a health and wellness coach, you help your clients improve their nutrition and fitness levels.

If you’re a business coach, perhaps you help your clients transition from being in debt to increase their profitability and bring in more revenue.

Or perhaps you help empower your clients to silence their inner critic so they can reach the next level in their life and business.

Whatever the service you provide, you’ve most likely walked a similar path in your own journey. That transformation plays a key role in the signature story you’re here to tell.

 

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Photo courtesy of Aaron Burden, Unsplash

Play Reporter

Have you ever looked in the refrigerator but couldn’t find the milk? Only to have your spouse point out it was right in front of you?

Sometimes the answers we seek are right in front of us, but we’re too close to see it. That’s why it’s helpful to recruit a friend to help you uncover what’s you’ve become blind to.

Invite a friend to interview you about your goals and what’s driving you to share your story. Here are a few questions to help you get started:

1. Briefly describe your business / career.
2. Why did you start your business? (if you’re a corporate profession: Why did you choose this field/industry?)
3. What are you passionate about your work?
4. What do you enjoy most about the clients you work with?

5. Why is sharing your story so important to you?

6. What do you want to be know for? What are you the expert in?

7. If you could leave an audience with one message from your talk, what would it be?

Have your friend recap the conversation. What did she learn? How would she describe you and your work?

You may be amazed at what’s right in front of you!

If you’d like support with crafting your powerful story, I’d love to help. Reserve your complimentary session, so you can take the first step towards the spotlight!

Build Your Speaking Platform in 3 Easy Steps

Wouldn’t it be great to begin 2018 knowing exactly what to do to grow your speaking platform?

As a heart centered visionary, I know you’re here to do big work in the world. And you feel called to speak to make a greater impact.

Speaking is a great way to connect with clients, establish your thought leadership and grow your business.

While there’s no formula for success, there are a few key ingredients that will build a foundation and make your visibility soar.

Find Your Voice

We all have a voice. Yet, finding your voice is one of the greatest struggles for many entrepreneurs. Once discovered, it can also be the key to standing out from the noise.

To help define your voice here are a few questions to get started:

What 3 words would you use to describe yourself? Is this how you would describe your speaking voice?

There are others who do the work that you do, but what do you do differently?

What are your strong opinions or beliefs?

A second way to define your voice is to think of a story you want to share with your audience. Now, pretend you are telling the same story to a friend. Do the styles match up? Do they sound the same?

Finding your voice is the first step to being visible. It’s also the way to engage your audience and developing a following.

Define Your Story

What is the message you were born to share? One of the concerns I hear most often from clients is that they don’t have a story to share. Or that their story isn’t compelling, special or unique.

Everyone has a story to tell – even YOU.

Like finding your voice, your story will take time to develop. Dig beneath the surface to uncover gems – the experiences, challenges and adventures you’ve forgotten about.

Here’s an exercise you can try: draw a line on a sheet of paper. The line represents your life with one end representing the day you were born; the other, the present day. Begin to fill in all the key milestones in between – graduations, marriage, moving, career changes, children, writing a book, traveling, and so on.

You’ll remember events and achievements you’ve forgotten about, which may spark your signature story.

Build a Platform

Your speaking platform is the foundation that will get you to the next level. That means, getting speaking experience under your belt. If you’re new to speaking, start small. There are numerous opportunities available in your local community from Meet Up groups to associations to the Chamber of Commerce. You can also be a guest for online podcasts, livestreams and webinars.

When you have a track record it makes it easier to book larger speaking opportunities.

In addition to your experience, building a foundation includes growing your community (online and off), perfecting your story, creating speaker materials and having a strategy to set you up for success..

When all of those pieces come together you’ve build a platform that will launch you to the next level. Continue to build the momentum and raise your visibility. Beforeyou know it you won’t have to seek out speaking opportunities. They will come to you!

Ready to take your speaking to the next level in 2018? Reserve your complimentary session and watch your visibility soar!