Why I do so much public speaking and why you should too.

Over the past 5 months, since first publishing my book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? I regularly get asked if I do any public speaking. The simple answer is an emphatic Yes! (And an emphatic Yes! is also the basic message of most of my public speaking.)

The truth is I never turn down an opportunity to speak if there is a chance I can work it into my schedule. Not just because I enjoy it. But also because it is my way of passing along all of the lessons, insights and encouragement that the world has shared with me. Plus, you usually get a free bottle of water.

UW Credit Union hooked me up with 2 bottles of water!

I enjoy offering motivation and encouragement. I like to teach and share lessons from my own experience. Which is why I think about the following philosophy when I am asked to speak at an event:

“The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The work of life is to develop it. The meaning of life is to give your gift away.”

-David Viscott

I also love to entertain. If I would have been born with more funny bones I would love to have been a standup comedian. (But alas, I only have the two not-so-funny bones in my elbows.) So when I get asked to speak I always try to find opportunities to make the audience laugh. And occasionally they will.

My recent speaking events include a book talk to a marketing association, company meetings, guest lectures, and 3 TV appearances.

Talk show talking with Molly Fay.

Over the next weeks and months my speaking engagements include:

A Career Day event for 8th graders. (A notoriously tough and attention-challenged crowd. I’ll probably resort to some potty humor to keep them engaged.)

Moderating a panel discussion Tomorrow morning I’m hosting a panel at American Family Field with some interesting and well-known panelists. (Which is sure to induce some panel envy.)

A talk in Cleveland for a large conference. (I hope they don’t throw any of those Cleveland rocks!)

Speaking to the leadership team of a very large household brand in Columbus. (Ok, so it’s really more of a Garagehold brand.)

Speaking to a conference in Chicago about branding. (I had to assure attendees that they would not be getting their hide seared.)

Several association meetings. (I’d like to create a talk titled, ‘Is there an ass in your ociaton?’)

• Guest interviews on podcasts

Plus, I have at least 5 other events in the planning stages.

Talking to the Milwaukee Athletic Club about how to carry 2 watermelons at once.

These speaking events are great opportunities for me to share what I know with the world. I get to pass along energy, enthusiasm and positivity. And I get to remind people that they are responsible for writing a great story of their own life and career every day.

I love the challenge of taking what could easily be a boring and forgettable event and turning it into something fun, entertaining and inspiring. Which is why I get so many speaking requests. And why I am often asked to fill the last slot of the day. (I’m the Keep-Them-Awake Specialist.)

Key Takeaway

If you have great experience and a positive perspective you should share it with the world. Look for opportunities to speak, educate and inspire. Not only will others learn from you, but you will learn from the experience too. The process of sharing with others forces you to organize and crystalize your own thinking. Which means everyone comes out ahead.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

> If you are looking for someone to speak at your next event you can reach me at adam@theweaponry.com.

+To learn some of the life lessons I like to talk about, check out my new book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

Start with a script to make sure you stay on the rails.

A surprising number of humans have a major fear of public speaking. Or maybe it’s just surprising if you are not one of them. I have no issue giving a speech, presentation or eulogy. Although I do limit eulogies to one per person.

I once had a supervisor ask me if I ever got nervous about public speaking. I replied, ‘I get nervous that they’ll cut me off.’ But a major reason I feel comfortable speaking in front of others is that I prepare.

When I address an audience I often begin in a way that feels very informal. Usually there is some kind of ice breaker or introductory humor. But what appears to be a casual start to my talks is designed.

I learned many years ago that my energy and my eagerness to talk about anything can work against me if I am not careful. I can start a presentation or speech hard and fast with loads of enthusiasm. But that can approach can feel like bull riding, with lots of surprising jumps and turns, but not much forwards progress.

To control the story flow, and make sure I hit the key points I need to hit upfront, I use a special technique: I always script my opening.

Even if I am only given a brief moment to prepare to speak I use all the time I have to craft my opening. I know the first word, sentence, and paragraph, cold. (Which means I have it memorized, not the my knowledge is temperature-dependent.)

I have found that if the first 60 seconds of my talks are predetermined, everything goes well. I spend time learning and perfecting that opening. And by delivering that well, I know I am staying on track. Then, like a freight train, I find my rhythm and follow the track all the way to the destination.

Key Takeaway

Whenever you speak in public script your opening. By organizing your introductory words and ideas you will point your speech, presentation, or toast in the intended direction. When the beginning goes well, it is easy to relax, enjoy and pick up momentum as you roll. Preparation is the best way to minimize your fear or anxiety. And it’s the best way to do your best every time you talk.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.