The 7 Daily Disciplines of the Successful Speaker


Fellow professional speaker Scott Ginsberg once asked me, “What do you do each day to assure your ongoing success?” I thought it was one of the best questions I’ve ever been asked.

For over 25 years, I’ve considered what activities have given me the biggest payback on my investment of time and expertise. The biggest challenge of professional speaking isn’t being successful; it is being successful over the long run. Longevity trumps the temporary, and requires daily disciplines.

At different times in your business, there will be different things you need to do, but these seven activities—when done daily—will stack the odds in your favor for long-term success.

  1. Capture ideas: Each day, read, observe, contemplate and capture ideas that will be relevant to your audience and useful in your speaking, writing, coaching and consulting. Reading broadly and eclectically develops intellectual bandwidth. If you read only what others are reading, you will likely lack the ingredients for true originality.
  2. Sell something: Whether that means developing a promotional piece for your website, making a sales call, or researching potential clients, make sure you invest in filling your sales funnel. Simple, deliberate actions to fill your sales pipeline will pay off handsomely always, but especially during economic slowdowns.
  3. Build and deepen relationships: Speaking can be analogous to the proverbial one-night stand. The speakers with staying power are building lasting relationships with clients and colleagues. That means not just making connections, but keeping them. When was the last time you called or emailed a client with no other motive than checking in on them and their well-being?
  4. Create: Write a story, post a blog, send a tweet, but do something that requires creative output that will position you, promote your brand, and lead to revenue. Your creative muscle is developed with use, and unless it is being built over time, it won’t be available to you when needed.
  5. Improve something: Look at every aspect of your performance and your business. Find something you can tweak, improve or overhaul for maximum impact and effectiveness. Pick one area of your business operations to scrutinize and improve each month.
  6. Learn a new idea: Capturing ideas for your content development is different than looking for new ideas on how to live your life better. Learning also keeps you from stagnating -—personally and professionally. My long-time friend Dan Burrus, CPS, CPAE, picks one new skill to learn each year.
  7. Enjoy: Enjoying the journey, as my pal Scott Friedman, CSP, says, is a great idea. I suggest you enjoy each moment as it comes. Don’t only do what needs to be done; make it a habit to do those things you really enjoy. Have fun. As the legendary Michael Jackson (not the singer, but the Brit known as the Beer Hunter) said, “Moderation is good, as long as it is in moderation.”

What will you do each day to assure your ongoing success? And what would you add to this list?

Mark Sanborn

Mark Sanborn

Mark Sanborn, CSP, CPAE, is a past president of NSA, and an international bestselling author and noted authority on leadership, team building, customer service and change.
Mark Sanborn
Mark Sanborn
Mark Sanborn