Five Speaking Rules You Can Break


As with almost anything else you read about the speaking business, these ideas may or may not work for you. They work for me. As the old saying goes, “Sacred cows make the best burgers.” Here are, in my opinion, five rules of speaking that you can break:

Rule You Can Break Number 1: Memorize, rehearse, and make your speech perfect.

That’s one option. Or, you can be utterly in the moment with your audience. Not reciting a presentation “at” them, but being in the moment “with” them.

Of course, I quite naturally went the route of being very conversational and interactive with my audiences, since I can barely remember my own phone number, much less memorize a speech. In fact, on my website it clearly states that “Joe doesn’t do traditional ‘speeches.’”

I go off on tangents with the audience. I lose my place. I abandon 50% of my planned presentation if the CEO speaks before me and says something that inspires a totally different approach. Speakers who observe me are often horrified. So far, it’s working out okay.

Rule You Can Break Number 2: Develop multiple income streams.

Let me defer here to Peter Sheahan’s 2012 presentation at the NSA Convention. Peter pointed out that a blue tip flame has more power and effect than a flamethrower.

You don’t have to feel like a slacker because you aren’t doing webinars, downloadable training programs, interactive web-based assessments, etc. As Peter said, “You can just do keynotes.” Or training, or coaching, or consulting.

Pick a lane. You can have fun and make a fortune.

Rule You Can Break Number 3: Never do anything on social media that doesn’t drive revenue.

Sometimes a speaker will say to me, “Joe, I don’t understand your social media strategy. Why did you post the ‘Thunderstruck’ video by AC/DC?”

I get more positive comments from clients when I post a good AC/DC video, than I do when I try to sell them something. Personally, I don’t want to hang out with anybody whose only relationship with me is that they want into my wallet.

Rule You Can Break Number 4: My speech (book, video, etc.) is wonderful. I need to spend my time selling it.

When I do a presentation for 500 people, in my mind I am making 500 sales calls. They are watching me work and, if I am amazing as what I do, they are likely to hire me or have influence on someone who can hire me.

I don’t have time to waste trying to reach people who have never heard of me. I’m too busy working on my next presentation in an effort to get hired by people who will perceive irresistible value in what I do.

Rule You Can Break Number 5: Just work. Take any job because you’re better off speaking than not speaking.

Good grief. Really? I mean REALLY? My career didn’t begin to take off until I got clarity on the work I shouldn’t do. The more I said “no” to bad jobs, the more I attracted the kind of work I wanted and did best.

* Disclaimer: All of the above is what works for me. It might not work for you. (Which is true whenever any speaker tells you anything about what you “have” to do.)

Joe Calloway

Joe Calloway

CSP, CPAE, business author, speaker, coach at Joe Calloway
Joe Calloway, CSP, CPAE, is the author of "Be The Best At What Matters Most."
Joe Calloway
Joe Calloway
Joe Calloway
Joe Calloway

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