I originally wrote this article originally for Influencive. You can view it here
Billionaire Warren Buffett once told a class of Columbia University students, “Right now, I would pay $100,000 for 10% of the future earnings of any you, so if you’re interested, see me after class.” After the laughter quieted down, he said, “Now, you can improve your value by 50% just by learning ONE thing – communication skills, specifically Public Speaking. If that is the case, see me after class and I’ll pay you $150,000.”
We have all been told about the importance of public speaking and how it can impact our business, career, success, and our income. Make no mistake: this is one of the most important skills you can develop. But, where do we start? How do we learn the critical skills to deliver a great speech?
I’ve always made a practice of accelerating my learning by seeking out the best in their fields and either partnering or convincing them to coach and train me. When I want to accelerate my ability in presenting and speaking, I turn to one person, Thom Singer. Thom is one of America’s top speakers and MCs. He is a CSP that has delivered over 800 speeches in his career, written 12 books on the subjects of speaking, entrepreneurship, and success, and has interviewed over 350 CEOs and business leaders on his podcast, “Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do.” When I decided to write an article on how to crush your next speaking appearance, I reached out to Thom and asked him, “What are the critical elements of a great speech? Is there a secret formula?”
Here is what he said…
There are five things that make a great speech: relevance to the audience, a highly prepared speaker, the connection the speaker makes to the participants, the stories told, and actionable content.
What Makes a Speaker Relevant?
Not every speaker is the right fit for every audience. Too often, meetings are looking to “fill slots”, but great events have presentations that are tailored to the needs of each audience. This means that the speaker not only needs to have content, but they must make that content matter. For too long, we have been told that “Content is King”, but just because someone is smart does not make them a great speaker. Instead, it is about context. How the speaker takes their content and creates a bridge to the needs of the people listening is what matters. If you hear a speaker at a convention of plumbers and then at a conference of lawyers and they do not change any part of their talk, they are not really being relevant. The content alone can be the same, but the context must be customized for every audience.
Can a Subject Matter Expert Wing It?
Or Do Speakers Prepare for Each Talk?Anyone who says they can “wing it” is going to come up short. No great speaker ever wings their presentations. Great presentations have a lot of preparation. People mistakenly think that TED and TEDx talks are great because they are short. The reality is the best TED and TEDx talks were written, re-written, and rehearsed. I put in 40 hours when I did a TEDx Talk, and each time I speak for an association or company I easily put in 4-8 hours of customized planning. Preparation is the foundation of a memorable speech.
What Is It That Makes Some Speakers Connect More With Audiences?
The personality of the speaker matters. Not just on stage, but before and after the talk when they are mingling with the audience, how they engage with people does matter. When I say personality, I am not referring to them being “bubbly” or “outgoing”; many more reserved people make great speakers. It is hard to describe the X Factor, but the speakers who have that little extra spark will connect. A lot of it has to do with their motivation. Being a speaker involves some level of ego, but the ones that deeply connect with a whole audience keep their ego in check and are there to serve others.
Why Do Stories Matter?
Humans are wired to remember stories. If you go back thousands of years, we learned via elders telling stories. Studies have shown we remember a story longer than we remember a fact or figure. But in our world of big data, too many people love to pepper their speech with graphs and charts. But data without a story will be quickly forgotten. I recently was getting on an airplane, and another passenger asked me if I was the speaker who presented at an insurance industry event several years earlier. When I said “yes,” he told me he always remembers the story I told about my daughter, Kate. Even after many years, he even remembered her name. Finding the right stories for a speech is not hard, but it must be intentional, and the story must have a purpose in supporting the overall message. But the right story can forever anchor that speaker in the minds of the audience.
What Separates a Powerful Speaker From Just Entertainment?
Getting people to take action is the difference between a powerful talk and an entertaining speech. While some people roll their eyes at the idea of “Motivational Speakers” (remember, Chris Farley on Saturday Night Live painted motivational speakers as frauds who lived in vans down by the river), the truth is all speakers should approach their talks as motivational. What is the opposite of motivation? De-motivating. Too many speakers do just that. They bore people with their brilliance and do nothing to get them to want to act. If a speaker is going to do more than fill a slot in the agenda, they must know their purpose in getting people to take action. When people are moved to do something new or different, you are impacting their future.
So, there you have it, 5 powerful secrets to crush your next speaking appearance from Thom Singer. Now, it’s your turn to “take action” and use them to make a difference.
This isn't an article about failing and failing forward. Much of what you hear about how to get out of your comfort zone these days is around seeking failure, pushing yourself in ways that you haven't before, and learning from the mistakes you make. Those are all helpful in getting out of your comfort zone, but there is something more important. It starts before you do any of that.
Whether you realize it or not, you are comfortable in your life. I can say this because most people haven't taken the time to "kick their own ass" in while. When is the last time you sat back and critiqued yourself and your performance? I'm not talking about getting down on yourself. Heaven knows the majority of people do way to much of that unnecessarily and inflict negative pain on themselves.
Instead, what I am talking about is positive pain. I'm talking about stepping back, asking if you are truly pushing things to edge of your potential, and whipping your butt back into shape in this area. The reason pushing yourself to fail and the traditional "get out of your comfort zone" advice doesn't work for a lot of people is because they haven't made the choice within to truly get out of their comfort zone in the first place. They haven't made the choice to embrace and endure the positive pain they need to go through to really break free.
Just about everything you want in your life is outside your current comfort zone. But, instead of continuously talking about it or lamenting about it - make the choice.
For example, maybe you are currently working 8 hours a week on the side on your dream and you know it's not enough to get you there, but "that's all the time I have..." B.S. If you know you need to be working 20 hours a week to make it happen, do it. Make the choice. Embrace the pain. If you are used to sleeping 8 hours a day, you may have to start going on 6. If you are used to living a certain lifestyle, you may have to sacrifice it in the short term, for an even better lifestyle long term.
It all comes down to choice. Either you really want it or your don't. Most people say they want things when they really don't because they aren't willing to do what it takes to get them. In reality, the things they want are not worthy of what it will take to get them. And that is OK. Get those things off your mind and ask yourself what is really worthy of what it will take. Then focus intently, almost obsessively on going after them. Make the choice - not excuses, embrace the positive pain and changes you will have to make for things to happen, and then act. Go. Now.
With the end of the year coming up, it's a great time to get in some solid personal growth to start the new year. Throughout the course of the year, I endeavor to read at least 2 new books per month.
Every book is typically very good and thought-provoking, but once in a while, some books really stand above the rest.
Here are 3 of the most outstanding books I've found in 2018 that you should consider reading prior to 2019 to help you with your personal growth.
Wealth For All by Idowu Koyenikan
I found this obscure book by chance. I was looking for a quote for one of the Misfit Minute newsletters and came across a wonderful quote from Idowu. I had never heard of him, so I looked him up and saw his book. It was a short read with some great topics, so I picked it up. I was surprised to find it as insightful and refreshing as it is. Many of the topics covered in it are ones you've heard before, but Idowu has a way to cut through the noise and go straight to the point and the action you need to do to really make these principles work in your life. Idowu delivers in 3 pages what many authors take 25 to do.
Redefine Impossible by James Lawrence aka The Iron Cowboy
This is a book about the potential of us as human beings and how far we truly can push ourselves. Maybe it is because I am an endurance athlete and Ironman participant, but this book really made me think about the limits we place on ourselves and how to lift them. James completed 50 full Ironman races in 50 days in 50 states - in a row. That is not a typo. Each day, James got up, swam 2.4 miles, biked 112, and ran a marathon for 50 days straight. There are so many lessons this book teaches about life and business that, endurance athlete or not, you can take and use. And, it is an awesome story as well.
Non-Business Book: Killing the SS by Bill O'reilly and Martin Dugard
In your personal growth routine, you should always mix in some non-business related material. For me, that is studying history. I absolutely love history and am amazed at how little of it is taught in our schools. Most people have no clue of the history of even their own country, let alone the world. And there is gold there. So much to learn about where we have been and where are going - and how history does truly repeat itself. Killing the SS is the story of hunting down the most vial and despicable Nazi leaders that escaped after WWII. It is shocking who helped them escape and what it took to bring many of them to justice. This book is a riveting story from start to finish that I read in about 2 days. It is chilling and shocking what we don't know about this era in history. And there are a lot of lessons we can take from it.
There are a lot of things needed to make someone successful. Focus, determination, great habits, maximizing opportunities, never giving up, and so on.
But, there is one thing that people miss or don't deliberately focus on that makes a major difference in their ability to succeed. In fact, it is the reason that so many people settle for mediocrity in their lives.
The one thing?
Creating high standards for themselves.
When was the last time you sat down and asked yourself, "What are my standards?" "What are my standards for my life? My business? My relationships?"
Whether you realize it or not, you are living up to some standard. And the thing is, with the way our minds work, whatever that set of standards may be is the limitations your mind has set on itself.
For example, if you're standard for a making a lot of money is $100k; you're probably making that much or less - but not more.
You were meant to live and function at the edge of your ability, not just using a small percentage of it.
If you want to up your game, up your standards. If you want to be more, do more, give more, and live at a higher level - create the standards that hold you accountable to do so.
Do it. Today. Create one new standard to hold yourself to and see what happens. You'll be amazed at what it does for your life and success.
If you are someone who sometimes has trouble finding the motivation to get out of bed or hits the snooze button a few times in the morning only to find yourself then getting up late, and missing out on the opportunity time - here's a few hacks for you. This will be a short read, but give you some powerful things you can to do get yourself going in the morning.
1.) Give Yourself a Meaningful Incentive
What motivates you? What would make you want to get out of bed, say, 1 hour earlier each day? How can you reward yourself besides the unbelievable additional productivity you will get by getting up earlier or on time? You answers to these questions will help reveal your "meaningful incentive." You need something to anchor to....something that can really drive you. Maybe you truly want to get healthier and by getting up earlier or on time, you will have the time for the exercise you keep putting off. Or maybe, it will allow you to eat a healthy breakfast instead of a "grab and go." Give yourself a reward on top of it for making things happen, but first find your meaningful incentive and anchor it in your mind.
2.) Force Yourself to Get Up Using Your Technology
OK, this is an easy one. If you have an alarm clock or use your cell phone as your alarm - put it across the room so you have to get up to get it when it goes up. The simple act of actually getting up and getting out of bed is much more powerful than staying in bed and hitting the snooze button. Try it. It works.
3.) Schedule Important Appointments of Meetings Early
Another way to motivate yourself and get yourself going early is to schedule important appointments or meetings early in the day. This is actually a secret of the most successful. They plan their days the day before and tackle their most important tasks or meetings first thing in the morning when they are fresh and at their best. This also means they have to wake early and be prepared. This secret of planning your day the day before, and doing your most important tasks first, is one of the most powerful of high performers. Give it shot - it will change your life.
Putting these simple hacks to work for you will make a huge difference in your productivity and success. Put them to use for you!
I saw a list of books the other day that someone put out and every one of them was what I would consider a life-changing or must-read book. I liked it so much I wanted to share them with you. If you read all 15 of these books, you will have a changed life and be on an even better path for having done so. Enjoy!
15 Books That Can Change Your Life
From Misfit's "Top 10 Lessons to Thrive and Succeed" Guidebook. Click here to get a FREE copy
Another lesson that I have found most important is that it is typically not one thing that sets the highly successful apart; it is a lot of little things done just a little bit better or differently that add up to a huge advantage. And this comes back to being disciplined and consistent. Let me give you a few examples.
How can you find your "Little things?" Try these steps...
There are a lot of things that you can do to affect your life and business, and give you a better chance to succeed. You can practice DCP, hustle, work hard and smart, build great relationships, and even have the right mindset, but there is one thing that is not necessarily in your control that has an impact on your success as well...that is timing.
You can have all of the above, but still fail because of bad timing. Just ask MySpace (if you even remember or know what it is). MySpace was essentially Facebook before Facebook. It was the right idea, but at the wrong time. The market wasn't ready yet. The same thing happened with a lot of the initial "box subscription" companies. There were numerous "Blue Apron's" and Hello Fresh's" long before those came out that failed because it wasn't yet a normal part of life.
Timing doesn't just mean market timing for a product or service, it can be timing in your business for an initiative or in your life for a meaningful change, etc.
In fact, I once lost an A-Player from my team simply because of bad timing. This person was doing a great job in the role they were in, but they knew, and we knew, that they were capable of much more. We wanted them to do much more and move into a bigger role. We had even discussed it with them in the past.
As the business grew and got to a point where the role was finally needed and we could afford it, we (my business partner and I) started putting everything together for the role and making plans to do the promotion with a big celebration, etc. We started that process 2 months before we were going to announce it to the A-Player. We had planned to do it in December going into the New Year, but we knew everything in October.
In late November, the employee came to us with his notice that he was going to leave for an executive level opportunity. We were literally a week out from promoting them and they were leaving! We did everything we could to save them. We explained our plans, the role, and how much time we had put into crafting the perfect role for them - but they had already made the commitment and given their word to the new company. On top of that, we didn't look that great, because it was after they told us that we came to them with the new role, etc.
Needless to say, they moved on and we remain friends to this day, but our poor timing cost us a great asset to our company and a great team member. We could have easily told them what were planning in October when we had done it. We may not have had all the details, but it would have made a difference to them and probably would have kept them from even taking the interview in the first place.
And that is the lesson, in life and business, there are moments of opportunity when you know the timing is right and you need to seize them - don't hesitate. Act in spite of the doubt, fear, or even complacency. Equally as important is to know when the timing isn't right for something and to table it. That doesn't mean that there won't ever be a time for it, just not now. The hardest thing to do is to see reality when you have worked really hard on something, or someone, and are emotionally invested in it. But, it will make a huge difference in your life and business if you can muster the courage to do so.
Be conscious of your timing, especially on big initiatives, and make sure to always be ready to seize the moment when it arrives.
In celebrating 100 episodes at the Misfit Entrepreneur, we poured through all of the episodes to narrow down the Top 10 Lessons we have learned from our guests on how to succeed and thrive. In fact, we created a guidebook that highlights each less and gives you a Misfit 3 of action items, resources, and hacks that you can use to implement them.
We hope you enjoy the guidebook as much as we did creating it for you!
Just click the link below to download your copy...
The Misfit Entrepreneur 100th Episode Top 10 Lessons to Thrive and Succeed
Here's to you success!
Dave and the Misfit Entrepreneur Team
Are you at a point where you are frustrated? Are you fed up? Are you sick of not having what you want or reaching to levels you think you should be? Are you close to giving up? Or maybe you just did.
Everybody reaches points in their life where they hit a wall. And the emotion starts to take over and those thoughts begin to creep into your mind. "Maybe I am not good enough...Maybe I am just not destined to be where I thought I could be..." These self doubts creep into our heads and mess with us. They plague us and for many are the killers of dreams.
If you ever find yourself in this type of situation and your subconscious begins to sabotage you and those feelings of doubt, fear, and giving up fill your head, here is the question to ask yourself:
Am I willing to do it just one more day?
Chances are the answer will be "Yes." You can do it just one more day, right? Just one more day. But, here's the beauty of the question. Tomorrow, when you feel like giving up, ask it again. Just one more day. All it takes one more day. That one more day maybe tomorrow or 6 months or a year from now, but if you keep doing it "just one more day" you will break through and you will find that you are capable of reaching the levels you are worthy of.
It takes Discipline, Consistency, and Persistence and the One More Day philosophy delivers just that for you. Now go out and give it one more day!
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