Tag Archive for Public Speaking

Professional vs. Public Speaking

It took me a long time to understand the difference between public and professional speaking. I showed up at a Toastmasters meeting hoping to get guidance and training so I would feel more confident in speaking to groups.

The first day I attended they asked me to speak about what travel might be like in the year 2000. I was terrified and spoke for five minutes about what space shuttle travel would be like to different planets.

The majority of the group, about 20, were fairly kind, recognizing how nervous I obviously was. But the other half counted how many “uh’s and ah’s” I mumbled,  how many pauses I took and criticized my content.

They did give me  a Toastmaster pin however.

It was embarrassing and more difficult than I could manage at the moment. I left agreeing to return, but knowing I never would.

Then a couple of years later I was invited to the National Speaker’s Association (NSA) in Burlingame. So many of the 85 attendees were proud to announce they were earning $2,500 – $5,000 for keynote speeches. When I asked several of them what they had done to attain that level of professional recognition, not a single one would reveal their secret.

There was a local group in Berkeley run by a member of my Elite Leads group and he asked me to attend as his guest. The group was based on education and sharing what experiences everyone had. I was very comfortable with the group and pleased to be a part of it. But sometime later he ended up moving across the street and asked me to take over. It was fine for awhile, but then it seemed as though everyone wanted to control the group in their own way.

So after a few of the Elite Leads asked if I would help them learn how to get speaking engagements I read an article by the IRS saying there are  entrepreneurs in every industry who earn an average of 40% more than others and when they surveyed the participants they found the reason boiled down to the ones who spoke in the business community were earning 40% more than those who don’t.

I began to create a program to teach entrepreneurs the business of speaking. I called it SpeakEasyTM and determined what would make the difference between all the other groups and what business owners would need to develop their speaking skills.

Speaking: How I got started

I was very fortunate, after dragging my feet for a year, I had a mentor, Ed Thorpe, who took me to a Lion’s Club meeting and just before we finished eating our lunch he leaned over and told me I was their speaker for the day! Gulp!

Well, in a sense he did warn me. For two years he kept telling me I needed to get over my fear of speaking. But I had a great excuse! I grew up stuttering and I knew without a doubt in my mind, I would stutter the very first time I stood up in front of an audience, they would all laugh and I’d be mortified and would have to go home and crawl into bed and pull the covers over my head never to be heard from again.

But, rather than embarrass Ed, I got up, talked for 20 minutes, although I’ve never remembered what I said. I got through it and not one person laughed at me. Now everyone should have a mentor like Ed. He picked me up every month and took me to various service organizations. The about a year after my first speaking engagement a young woman approached me to tell me that she had heard me speak six months prior at her Rotary club. She went oh to tell me what I had said saved her from loosing her business and having to return to a job.

In most situations, that wouldn’t be so bad, except she had three children under the age of ten and by the time she paid for day care and other services to take care of her children, there would have been nothing left over from any job she could qualify for. Besides, being available for her children was why she had then in the first place.

What I had said in my prepared presentation was to explain the simple logic of making her business be accountable. How much was the cost of business and how profitable was it? I explained how to use a term I had later trademarked, Power Partners. I explained how they could become her sales team and she could pay then a commission for referring her business. I also talked about farming out the tasks that are time consuming and only focus on the money generating activities.

In six months she went from loosing $3,000 a month in her start up phase to a $6,000/month profit.

Can you imagine how that effected me? Well, I can tell you it was what hooked me on being a speaker. I realized that even though I thought my knowledge was common everyday practice for entrepreneurs, some people might have heard it, but had never put it into practice,.

Ed never had to book me as a speaker again. I was always one step ahead of him.