How to win speaker slam with Dan Shaikh

Dan Shaikh is the Co-Founder of Speaker Slam – Canada’s Premier Inspirational Speaking Competition with over 200 attendees monthly and attracting a stellar lineup of speakers and professional judges. He is a Event Producer, Video Creator and a Process Specialist.

Dan Shaik HeadshotDan is also the Founder of Speaker Slam Video Productions empowering speakers to reach a bigger audience through video. His greatest passion and life’s mission is living and creating peak experiences for others.

We met now almost 2 years ago. In September of 2016 Dan was the President of the best Toastmasters group in the city, CSI Pitchmasters. I fell in love with the club and we’ve been great friends ever since.

In our interview together Dan speaks to:

  • How to win speaker slam
  • What to avoid on stage
  • How to crush it in front of and behind the camera
  • How event organizers actually choose speakers

(If you prefer these tips in video check out our interview here)

Win Speaker Slam in 3 steps

After over a year of competition and dozens of events Dan has seen speakers that have crushed the stage… And the occasional speaker thats flopped. He expressed that it’s key a speaker comes with at least 2 of the following three traits,

“Our top 4 always have these 3 things in common. They demonstrate genuine vulnerability, they make our audiences laugh or they show up with poise. The confidence, charisma, and x-factor that’s intoxicated to watch and we can’t take our eyes off them.”

On the flip side, here’s Dan major tips to avoid.

How to lose Speaker Slam

The most common speaker pitfall is that of the conversationalist. They show up without having prepared, not wanting to be too scripted and as a result their message doesn’t land or they choke. Consistently, the top 4 speakers and ultimately the winners are the most prepared and take their time on stage seriously.

The way I see it is that there’s no greater level of narcissism than believing you can walk up on stage after 9 prepared speakers and believe you’re so good that you didn’t need to prepare. Repetition is the mother of learning and it’s no exception here at Speaker Slam.

How to look good for an event planner

Not only is Dan onstage as a host of Speaker Slam, he also organizes the speakers, the venue and the event as a whole. As a result he’s witnesses hundreds of applications to compete and has developed a sharp eye to what stands out for event planners.

Dan said,

“Your branding starts with your profile picture. It speaks volumes about how invested you are in your career. You could easily look at all of the profiles of past speakers and point out the top 3-4 from each event based on their pictures. Those speakers are serious and make a big impression on event organizers.”

From there a logical progression is to develop your brand hosticially. Dan recommends thinking deeply about your presence on the main social platforms like Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Youtube. Do you have video content? Are you writting? How are you staying relevant? If you fit the bill on these criteria you’ll be in an event planners good books.

Video Editing 101

Dan expressed to me that video is more important today than ever before (hence the video podcast). As a result, if you want your career as a speaker to grow, you need to be capturing yourself on video.

“If an event venue has 50 people in attendance and you crush it… You reached 50 people. If you crushed it AND captured it on video, than you have the potential to reach 5000 people by leveraging social media.”, Dan said.

I agree, don’t limit yourself to the confines of physical attendees. In addition, no meeting planner will ever take the risk on your as a paid speaker if they can’t see a quality speaker reel prior to the event.

Here is Dan’s top three tips to experiment with:

  1. Make the first 3 seconds as memorable as possible
  2. Invest in quality lower thirds
  3. Ensure your have either multiple angles, b roll, or jump cuts to keep your audiences attention
  4. BONUS* test subtitles as they can stop those scrolling mindlessly through Facebook in their tracks

How to kill it in front of the camera

The gave of video is simply a question of energy. If you’re a 5 in person, you need to 10x your energy on camera. It’s challenging to properly capture energy on video and so a 10 looks like an 8 and if you’re a 5 you look like a 1. Dan’s suggestion is to be more animated, speak louder and to show up with more energy than you would ever consider necessary.

If you want great examples of this check out Gary Vaynerchuk or Logan Paul.

Dan’s Do This Directives:

  1. If you want to dramatically improve your stage presence and fill in your current gaps than film yourself and review the content. I dive deeper into the need to film yourself for continuous improvement in this video (skip to 3:50 for the tip).
  2. Get a professional headshot… Yesterday! Take the first step towards your professional branding with a quality headshot. Then consider the way you’re showing up on social.
  3. Come/ Compete at Speaker Slam! You can find out more about the event and buy tickets here.

Show notes for the audio Podcast:

2:00 Me expressing my gratitude for Dan and his business partner Rina.

4:00 What is Speaker Slam?

5:30 How Speaker Slam started.

9:15 Tribute to Maria Rocellis.

10:30 How to work with a business partner.

12:31 How to make it into the top 4 at Speaker Slam.

15:30 What to avoid at Speaker Slam.

17:40 How to look good for event planners.

21:00 What do event planers want from speakers.

22:30 Why we need to create videos.

24:40 How to get more engagement on posts.

26:30 How to crush it editing videos.

32:00 The one thing you should be doing today.

Till next time, stay of the offensive. Aggressively pursue a better version of yourself. And remember what Jim Rohn said, “you cannot change the destination of your life overnight but you can change the direction”

Jonathan Andrews

Out.

 

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The Science of Persuasion and Logos – IWTYTS

We’ve made it!

Aristotle laid out three pillars to persuasion and our final to discover together is Logos. In an emotional and highly irrational world, do we still need to use logic in debate and rhetoric?

More than ever before.

Logos translates in greek to logic and helps your audience make sense of what you’re saying.

You want to make sure that everything you say has an understandable, logical, and has a real message. The supporting arguments should be clear and flow nicely into the main points. To develop this element, key questions to ask yourself are:

1. Does this message make sense?
2. Is the message based on facts, statistics, and evidence?
3. Will the call to action actually lead to an outcome the audience wants? Will it solve the problem that’s been presented?

With high logos you are less likely to have the audience turn to the person next to them or walk away saying “what the heck were they talking about?”

I highly encourage you to focus on structure in your presentations to develop logos. I cringe when I see speakers who have a lot of great information but it’s not organized. Who tell fantastic stories, but they’re irrelevant to the main theme and therefore do not persuade.

Let’s all just keep it simple. There are only a few main structures to presentations:

  1. Intro, body, conclusion
  2. The three act structure – same style, different name, where you have the context, climax and conclusion
  3. Tell them structure – Tell what you’re going to tell them, tell them, tell them what you told them

If you focus on structure and than back up that structure with messages based on fact and evidence that support your arguments, you will successfully inject logos into your rhetoric.

Now as I hope you’re aware of from our precious posts,

Aristotle intended us to use a combination of these three forces, ethos, pathos and logos rather than keeping them mutually exclusive.

Aristotle ethos pathos logos

These pillars intertwined create the greatest chance for influence. They are supportive, and complimentary, not independent. It reminds me of when I started my first business at 18. Our trainers would often coach that there are multiple kinds of people, sharks, whales, dolphins and sea urchins, and our responsibility as presenters pitching our ideas would be to appeal to them all. The same is true here.

In each audience there will be people who just aren’t persuaded by what school you went to or what clothes you wear. There will be people who make decision solely on their gut, on emotion, and if you’re unable to appeal to that person, you will not influence them. And finally, there will be analytical people in your audiences. Are you giving them the stats and evidence and logic they need to make an informed decision, because if you aren’t it’s highly likely you’re missing out on business or changed lives.

Ultimately , my hope and vision for you is to allow these concepts of persuasion, ethos, pathos and logos to sink deep into your subconscious. For you to take them with you for the rest of your career so that when someone needs a sale made, they can call you, a relationship built, they know who to ask, or someone to change the world, you are the one on stage delivering that message.

Till next time stay on the offensive. Aggressively pursue a better version of yourself. And remember what Jim Rohn said, “you cannot change the destination of your life overnight but you can change the direction.”

Jonathan Andrews

Out.

The Science of Persuasion and Pathos – IWTYTS

I’m excited now to uncover with you Aristotle’s second pillar of persuasion. His concepts can be seen throughout histories most influential orators. On demand they would allow their audiences to feel specific emotions at very specific times.

With pathos, you can too.

It’s not enough for a speaker to simply rely on Ethos or credibility because there will come a time when either you will not be a credible source on a topic or your audience isn’t that impressed or persuaded by ethos. You’ll need to dig deeper into your tool belt as an influencer and remember how essential emotion plays in your ability to persuade.

While ethos translated into credibility, pathos means experience.

The job of the speaker is to create an experience for the audience by appealing to the emotions that exist within them. By drawing out these emotions the speaker keeps the audience feeling engaged and interested. It’s important to recognize that emotion doesn’t need to only mean sadness, anger and fear but should also include joy, excitement, and a myriad of other feelings.

It’s our responsibility as communicators to choose which emotions are appropriate at any given time, and learn how to evoke these emotions. Typically, the best way to give the audience a memorable experience is to evoke contrasting emotions throughout the speech, almost like a smooth roller coaster of ups and downs.

Rollercoaster image

With high pathos, your audience is more likely to feel connected to you, trust you, be persuaded by your message, and follow through with your calls to action.

Let’s talk the how:

Stories

This includes personal stories as well as simple anecdotes or even stories of others. For example, if I’m talking about mental health awareness I could say something like, “asking for help for the first time can be hard – I remember sitting down with my dad with a scar I cut into my own arm nervous and unsure about what I was going to say…”

Painting the picture of sitting down with my dad with the scar on my arm, feeling nervous and uncertainty, draws your audience into your memory. This is often the quickest way to establish emotional connection with the audience and is likely going to be one of the most memorable moments of the presentation.

Pro Tip – Lead by example. Mirror the emotions you would like your audience to feel. Believe it or not – it works! If you are describing a wonderful moment, for example, amplify and show the joy in your face, voice, and posture. On a subconscious level the audience will see the way you are speaking and use that as a cue for the emotions they should experience.

So avoid the mistake of 90% of speakers who tell as sad story with a smile on their face or share their vision with a monotone voice. Ensure that your non-verbal communication reflects the emotions you want your audience to experience, it will magnify the impact.

Analogies and Metaphors

These comparisons allow you to build on the understanding and emotions an audience already feels for something. For example if you speak about gang violence, you might

Screen Shot 2018-05-14 at 5.40.52 PM.png
Iain Gabriel in Action

plainly state that, “We have a problem in our city…” On the other hand, you might say, “we have a cancer in our city…” The latter analogy draws on your audience’s pre-existing feelings about cancer, and makes them want to move or take action towards a solution.

I’ll bring my good friend Iain Gabriel onto a future video for you to learn first hand from a masters of taking advantage of metaphors and analogies.

Humour

Humour typically involves story telling and often allows the audience to connect to you on more of a friendship level. The audience laughing and having a good time also allows them to stay attentive and engaged with the content.

Disconnected audience are not easily persuaded.

Do This.

As you go out and try tell better stories, use more vivid language and analogies, make your audiences laugh and lead by example. As a final tip, Aristotle intended for us to associating positive emotions with our main calls to action (whatever your cause or takeaway) and more negative emotions surrounding the issues we seek to address.

You, like histories most influential orators, are now armed to go on stage and into your everyday life to use pathos, to use emotion to elicit your desired response in every interaction. Whether that be action towards your cause, buying your product or just simply living a better life.

My question to you is, what are you going to do with it?

Till next time stay on the offensive. Aggressively pursue a better version of yourself. And remember what Jim Rohn said, “You cannot change the destination of your life overnight but you can change the direction.”

Jonathan Andrews

Out.

IWTYTS – Ethos and the Science of Persuasion

Part of what I believe my responsibility is with “I Will Teach You To Speak” is to support those who have great messages, who have ideas and abilities that that if coupled with persuasion could yield real world change. And I’m such a champion for those people because influence and rhetoric is a skill that can be acquired, not some inherent trait confined to our genes and those people who find themselves in the lucky sperm club.

In fact, it was over 2000 years ago that one of the worlds most renown Philosophers, proved that anyone could learn to influence. In Arabic Philosophy he’s touted as the first teacher, and in the western world as THE Philosopher. Aristotle, introduced a science to rhetoric and persuasion. He introduced a clear and repeatable formula for

Aristolte image

those curious enough to improve their careers, get the girl of their dreams, and make the world a better place with their communication. I’ve taken advantage of his teachings and I hope you do too.

There’s three essential pillars to Aristoles science of persuasion, Ethos, Pathos and logos.

In this article we explore how you can immediately start implementing one of my favourite tools of persuasion, ethos! And if you’re not, why you should reconsider your approach at communication to insert these essential tools starting today.

Ethos translates to credibility.

You know when you walk into the doctors office and they have 5 certificates on the wall demonstrating all of their accolades and education? They’re using ethos or credibility as a form of influencing you to believe their suggestions will be true and acceptable.

We need to do the same thing as communicators.

When you get up on stage, here are a few areas to focus on so that you can demonstrate more credibility and make it much more likely that your audience will agree with you and be persuaded.

Authority

Fortunately as a speaker you will inherently have authority. Someone chose you to be on stage her today to speak on the subject of x, y or z! In addition, I’d also challenge you to consider your non verbal communications and how your body language is increasing or taking away from your authority with the audience. Relaxed shoulders, strong posture, and firmly planted feet are all excellent indicators that you’re sharp as a tact and an expert worth listening to.

Reputation

Reputation relates to your experience and expertise. The audience is much more likely to listen to the speaker who’s written a best selling book and has 15 years of experience in the industry vs someone who’s fresh out of college with no reputation. It’s absolutely critical that you never stop learning, growing and cultivating new insight as a communicator.

me and marc c.JPG

When I asked my CEO early into my new career how he got where he is, he said that he started exactly where I was starting as an entry level salesmen. From there he became such a product expert on what he was selling that not only did he become the #1 salesmen in the entire company and become a millionaire, conferences in the medical equipment industry around North America would seek him out frequently to speak at their events. He developed the reputation of an expert and his influence followed.

Trustworthiness

Being trustworthy is as simple as coming across as an honest, ethical, and genuine human being. You can accomplish this through:

  • Simling
  • Being genuine to your story
  • Maintaining eye contact
  • Having open non verbal communication
  • Saying things like, “I pride myself on my long term relationships” or “I pride myself on doing whats right by my customers”

Similarity

Can you find common ground with your audience? Can see you life, problems and possible solutions through their eyes? Take the time before presentations, sales calls or your next meeting to feel empathy and attempt to step into their shoes, it’s powerful. By forming common ground, they are way more likely to identify with you and be receptive of your messages. In addition, use strategies like adapting your language, mannerisms, style, dress, etc. to identify with your audience while still remaining genuine (don’t take it too far).

Let’s jump back to the horses mouth before I give you a real challenge to start using today.

Aristotle said 2000 years ago that,

“If any of these elements of credibility were missing, if there was any question whatsoever about your character as a person, your practical intelligence on this specific subject, or good will, than the audience will question and doubt that what you’re saying is the best suggestion with the purest of intentions.”

So now that you know how important credibility and ethos are… Here’s what I want you to do.

Do This.

1. Become an expert. Develop deep expertise in the topics you speak about. As Gary V would say, “stay in your lane.” If you do that, your expertise will be enough to help differentiate you from other speakers.
2. Analyze your audience and have empathy for them. If you can find common ground or get them to say, “he understands me or he’s just like me” you will find your audience will be much more receptive than ever before.
3. Show up early to welcome the audience. It builds trust and shows you care.
4. Remember something a previous speaker said, repeat it and give them credit.
6. Stay late and make yourself available for the audience, organizer and any questions.

I’m in agreement with Aristotle when he said that if you display all these traits of credibility, it cannot rationally be doubted that your suggestions are credible.

Do yourself a favour, become an expert, go the extra mile to understand who’s in the audience and than show it. If you do, credibility will become a powerful tool for you on the path to influence.

Till next time stay on the offensive. Aggressively pursue a better version of yourself. And remember what Jim Rohn said, “You cannot change the destination of your life overnight but you can change the direction.”

Jonathan Andrews

Out.

LLL v3 – Don’t hold back your people

I fundamentally misunderstood the purpose of leadership as President of CSI Pitchmasters.

I thought club membership growth was a measuring stick of my leadership.

I thought successful events was an indicator of my influence.

I thought being called, “the best president we’ve ever had,” meant I was doing everything right.

I was certainly and without a doubt wrong. The truth is I failed as a leader.

Not because anyone said so, as you can see from above I’ve been praised over and over again for my dedication to our members, for representing our club professionally, and for ensuring that we meet our club key performance indicators, I say I failed because I know it in my heart of hearts that anyone could have done what I did this past year.

Dissapointed in mirror

It’s relatable to being a peacetime general. In good times, when you’re growing, when the revenue curve is going skywards, you don’t really see leadership. In fact, it’s not really that important. Everything’s working with or without great leadership. When you need leadership is when things go wrong. It’s when the curve flattens, you’re losing members/ employees, the economy tanks.

But my lousy leadership wasn’t that I didn’t make more problems that I could stand up heroically and solve. My biggest mistake is that i didn’t take advantage of the most important function of a leader during peace times. Developing other leaders.

The leaders most important task is to take good people and make leaders out of them.

You see, in any organization whether that be a non-profit like CSI Pitchmasters, your own business, or even your families and communities, people are the only assets that can continually appreciate. Systems become outdated, buildings deteriorate, machines wear down, but people can grow, develop and become more productive and effective if they have a good leader who understands their value.

Over the past 12 months I’ve been surrounded by 5 incredible board executives and over a dozen members all of which I’m extremely fond and proud of. Saying that I haven’t seen tremendous growth in them right before my eyes would be a lie. But their incredible growth is a by-product of an environment we’ve created, nothing to do with my personal leadership. In fact, it’s so clear to me now that on many occasions I was standing directly in the way of their growth. Here’s why: I didn’t give my team the space to fail and win and because I was insecure.

I took on jobs that should have clearly been delegated. And tasks that would have been huge confidence boosters for members, ended up on my plate because I didn’t set proper expectations and encourage members to take them on with pride and enthusiasm. When I look back, most of the talk about being an awesome president was because I took on so much work, personally.

We all had it twisted.

The best leaders would have inspired, delegated, and encouraged its members to take on the work and grow personally. They would have consistently modeled the behaviour they wanted to see,  mentored the team to acquire new skills, recognized their personal accomplishments and established the right support systems incase there were challenges.

That is the role of the leader!

Not taking on all the work, but ensuring the team grows in the pursuit of accomplishing lofty projects. If you’ve experienced this problem as well or want to be wise and avoid these mistakes as a leader completely, follow these two principles.

It’s in a leaders best interest to let your team win or lose

Understanding your teams abilities will multiply your effectiveness. The first step to great leadership is to surround yourself with people of great potential. That wasn’t my problem. My problem was that I didn’t know how to properly delegate responsibilities and tasks. Instead of recognizing my teams strengths and capabilities, I did everything myself. When I should have been confident in my team and motivated them to take on projects, I stepped in and stunted their growth potential.

team sleeping GIF by gamingWhat I’ve learned is that it’s important to give your team opportunities to show you and themselves that they are capable. Fostering leadership is about putting people in a position to become leaders themselves. And to do that without micromanaging. I didn’t clue into the fact that it was actually in my best interest all along to let them win or even fail because then you both know moving forward whether or not they’re suited for that task. Once you know what your team is and isn’t capable of you can delegate appropriately and multiply effectiveness.

Great leaders are not threatened by people with great potential

Gary Vaynerchuk has an excellent analogy where he says that as an entrepreneur building a company he wants to build the biggest building in town. And he wants to do that by building the biggest building in town… Unlike how most other business people do it by tearing down other people’s building.

Gary v biggest building

When it comes to my relationships with people I’ve definitely never purposefully tried to build a bigger building by tearing down anyone’s building, but I sure have been threatened by others buildings. I’m being very transparent for the sake of drilling deep into my own personal psychology when I say that I do avoid giving others opportunities, or share their work when I love it, or hold on to my own personal learning because I’ve convinced myself that if I do, they will build a bigger building than me.

Joze Piranian bumped me out of the Speaker Slam Grand Slam first place spot by .5 in November of 2017 and I still haven’t shared his incredible speech on Facebook (until now). I don’t share valuable insights that I know could help my roommate, Iain, because he’s already so damn smart and it exposes my insecurities. Finally, I don’t pass along all of the best practices in selling I’ve learned with specific members of my team at work because with it I know they’d outsell me.

Why? Because I’m not secure as a leader.

It’s an unproductive, disempowering, and candidly a pathetic place to come from as a leader. Fortunately I recognized the need for change.

Great leaders, the type of leader I want to become, are not threatened by people of great potential.

Great leaders want to lift them up and help them soar higher. I’ve learned that in order to be a great developer of people you need to be personally secure, because taking people to the height of their potential may mean they will pass you by…

And that’s okay. Our job as a leader isn’t to look good or to be at the top of some hierarchy. It’s to work hard and model the behaviour we want to see in our people. It’s to mentor and coach potential leaders to achieve big goals, goals bigger than the individual.

It’s about developing other leaders.

This radically transparent reflection, while painful, is necessary. It’’s not only necessary for me to be completely honest with myself, but it’s also critical for you, if you also want to step into a leadership role, to see yourself in my example. To decide whether or not you’re truly developing people or if you’re holding them back because of micromanagement or insecurity.

Do this.

  1. Give your team the space and opportunity to win and lose. Taking on all the work may get you short term credit and pleasure, but it doesn’t lead to long term satisfaction, trust and results. I want to challenge you to give your teams more challenging tasks and coach and encourage them until they’ve stretched into the leader they have the potential to be.
  2. Seek ways to elevate your team higher than yourself. Just like you move beyond mentors and coaches when you’re ready, the same should be happening with your people. If you’re maximizing your responsibility as a leader they should surpass you in skill and ability as well. Give them the strength, encouragement and recognition they deserve. It will only make the world a better place.

Till next time stay on the offensive. Aggressively pursue a better version of yourself. And remember what Jim Rohn said, “you cannot change the destination of your life overnight. But you can change the direction.”

-J

Out.

Lessons in Lousy Leadership V1

Almost everyone I’ve ever admired were or are leaders.

Jim Rohn, became a millionaire leading a team in network marketing. Eugene, my first Gymnastics coach led scrawny kids to become powerful young superstars. My dad, learned his chops in the military and went on to lead hundreds of men and women for the Metro Toronto Police Force.

It’s clear to me that leadership is an uphill battle. It demands excellence, discipline, and vision. It can quickly expose you, if you aren’t prepared, to the chinks in your armour. And it is surely a humbling pursuit.

I admire leaders for the same reason you do. Leaders lead. They take the first step into uncharted territory. They organize, rally and inspire. They take ownership over the direction and strategy for the team and ownership of the failures along the way. Leaders, force you to grow.

Over the past year and a half, I’ve decided to crawl out of my shell and embrace leadership. Not for the admiration, but for the growth. Looking back to when I started I never would have imagined how far I’ve come and how many missteps I was soon to make in the process… It’s a journey that, for me is just beginning, and a journey that I encourage you to travel for yourself.

Today, I’m currently the president of CSI Pitchmasters as well as the Area Director for Area 71 with Toastmasters. And as I’m sure you’ve experience first hand, most of our growth, almost all of our greatest epiphanies as leaders, are through our errors. The purpose of this series is to share them and call them out so you don’t need to make those same mistakes as I have.

In late 2017, as the President of CSI Pitchmasters, the board and I decided on our club contest dates. Every 6 months, each Toastmasters group runs a contest to test the members and ensure their progressing by going head to head with other members from across the globe. When we sat down as a board to discuss the next steps, it was decided that our VP of Education would organize the event with my support along the way. The next 4 weeks leading up to the event were a blur. The next thing I knew it was 4 days until the contest with very little progress made. The club was excited but I was nervous.

TI Area Contest

The only thought going through my head was, “I guess I’m screwed!”

Sound familiar?

Let’s unpack this first lesson in lousy leadership, together.

 

Autonomy Over Blind Faith

My first major blunder as a leader was misinterpreting the word autonomy. I thought, our VP has decided to take on this project so we can meet once and he’ll get it done! He’s an intelligent, educated and hardworking guy, this is going to be easy I thought.

How could I have been so naive?

It’s true that he is intelligent. He is Educated. And he is certainly hard working. But as a leader I totally dropped the ball. What I thought was autonomy was actually blind faith.

It’s a mistake I’ll never make again.

This, like all failures, merited reflection. After playing out other scenarios in my head and understanding more about the way autonomy worked in my current job, here’s what I should have done. If you’ve ever worked with a great leader they probably did this – They define the expectations.

As a leader, I should have set expectations for who was responsible for what, when it needed to be done by, and how often we should have had a progress update. Although we clearly needed to organize the event, I never set the expectation around food and our budget. Who would print off all the materials and forms. I missed communicating what needed to happen in order for us to be ready and when did it need to be ready by. That simple method of setting expectations would have saved my ass.

If I had done that, I would have been giving him autonomy instead of blind faith.

Blind faith is saying, “Let me know if you need any help!”

Autonomy is saying,”this is what we’re responsible for, here is our desired outcome, and these are our agreed upon check ins.”

That way, it’s clear what needs to get done and everyone knows their personal responsibilities.

Trust me when I say that your team will thank you for setting expectations and appreciate you caring enough to check in when you said you would.

If You F Up Be Like A Duck

Finally the day of the event arrived. I ended up scrambling like hell to organize the people, the paper work, the food, and get the venue set up to support the desired outcome. It goes without saying that you don’t need that kind of  stress in your life.

I’m now standing in front of the room, 10 minutes before the start time with our VP and the MC we invited to run the night. While my VP and I franticly ran around trying to set everything up, our veteran Toastmaster and MC, Emilio, demonstrated to me what it looks like to be a leader under pressure. I’ll never forget that night because it was the first time that I saw first hand what it meant to be like a duck.

Emilio Pic
Follow Emilio on all Social Channels @ecmspeaking

Leaders of all capacities will be required to execute under pressure. When the chips are down, when you’re the underdog, when it’s clear you’re underprepared and no one has a clue what the hell is going on. The leader still needs to lead.

That night, 10 minutes before we started, Emilio walked up to my VP and I and said, “We’re missing forms and you see these other forms? Ya, all of those are for the wrong competition.”

My stomach sank. I tried to keep my composure but both my VP and I were panicking. All of a sudden my VP was not only panicking but he had verbal diarrhea and lost his nerves in front of the whole group. They were beginning to realize we F’d up.

Coming to our rescue, like a war tested veteran who had clearly done this hundreds of times, Emilio grabbed us and pulled us outside the room. We have a room of over 20 people ready to participate in the contest, he said. A few missing forms is nothing to ruin this night over. Yes, we screwed up. Yes, we don’t have everything we should have. But we’ll make it work, he said boldly.

With a straight face and head held high, one that only a real leader could muster under pressure, Emilio guided us back into the room and worked diligently for the next 5 minutes briefing our judges, the timers, and our ballot counters on the missing forms and what we were going to do about it. When we F’, he acted like a duck. Cool and calm on the surface, yet working like hell to paddle hard under the water.

duck-image.jpg

When you watch ducks, it looks as though they are smoothly gliding along the surface of the water with very little effort.  However, a closer inspection reveals that they are paddling hard under the water to get where they need to go.

It was easy, even default, for my VP and I to get frazzled that we had screwed up.

But the best leaders, leaders like Emilio, are more like ducks.  Sure, they’re still working hard, but they make it look easy. With warm smiles and a relaxed demeanour, they bring a sense of calmness and reassurance to those around them.  They are less likely to explode in rage when the team has made a mistake and more likely to focus immediately on a solution.

As Emilio would say,

“The show must go on.”

Staying cool, calm and collected is the only way to keep everyone level headed and productive. Emilio told me that he works best under pressure. He’s learned from all his past experiences that it is best to focus our energy on the factors WE CAN control and not to lose sweat over what we can’t.

Because of Emilio, that event was still one of our biggest successes to this day. Thank you, brother.

Do this.

Don’t make the same mistakes I have. In your next leadership opportunity practice these two lessons from my lousy leadership.

  1. Set the right expectations. Don’t lead with blind faith, instead give your team autonomy. Who’s responsible for what, when does it need to get done by and what are our agreed upon check ins.
  2. If you make mistakes, which you will, receive them relaxed. Choose intentionally to focus on the solution rather than the problem. If you act like a duck, you won’t project your anxiety and frustration on the rest of the team. Instead you will become an example they aspire to emulate like I do with Emilio.

I hope these stories inspire you to share your own leadership lessons. Please leave a comment below so I don’t have to make them all myself!

Till next time be on the offensive. Aggressively pursue a better version of yourself. And remember what Jim Rohn said, “You cannot change the destination of your life overnight but you can change your direction.”

-J

Out.

IWTYTS – How to prepare for a speech 3/3

The quickest way to a goal, is to model the behaviour and philosophies of those who’ve already been there and done that. So as we wrap up our series on presentation preparation, it’s important to spend time thinking from the lens of a professional speaker.

How do professional speakers prepared to inspire the masses? How do speakers like Tony Robbins, Les Brown, Brendon Burchard, and Arriana Huffington impact so many people without burning out?

The answer is simple, but not easy.

The strategy is called becoming a modular based speaker. And it’s a strategy that will allow a newbie or intermediate speaker, to become a professional. This transition will not only make you a top 1% earner in North America, it will give you the gift of speaking to any audience, at any time, at a moments notice.

Let me give you an example.

Imagine you’re Tony Robbins up on stage at Unleash The Power Within. There’s 3000 people in the audience expecting you to deliver the best performance of your life. They want to change their lives, help them make more money, have better relationships and go home never being the same again.

Lindsey Best

For 5 days straight, 12 hours a day, you’re on stage delivering material. Yes, 5 days, 12 hours a day!

How do you feel? Well as Tony, you have incredible certainty that you will deliver on those expectations because you’ve done it thousands of times. But for most of us, that would be unimaginable… We aren’t professionals, just yet.

Is Tony a genius? Does he posses some skill that is unavailable to the rest of us? No. We anyone who’s willing to set up their content to become a modular based speaker could in theory speak for hours and hours without ever running out of material.

The secret is that every story, every topic, every theme that Tony delivers, is modular. Meaning today we have 12 hours and we’re delivering modules a, b, c, d, and e. Doesn’t sound too complicated right?

But what happens if we’re 3 hours over time on a 12 hour day. Are you going to make your audience stay 3 extra hours? How would you feel if a speaker kept you an extra, 1, 2 or 5 hours? You can’t do that, it would be amateurish.

As a professional, Tony and Brendon, and all of the other greats, know their modules so well that everything is finely tuned with precise timing. Let’s continue with the example above and say that the organizer rushes up to you and says, “Hey Tony we’re 3 hours behind, we need to get back on track.”

In less than 10 seconds Tony can decide that he needs to cut out modules c and d, leave in e and end with q. He’ll end on time and still deliver amazing value. 2 seconds later is back out on stage delivering off of the new material he’s sliding in and forgetting about the material they will miss out on by being behind.

Can you see the implications for yourself?

No matter who’s in the audience or how much notice you have you know your material so well, every module is laid out in such detail, that in a moments notice you can deliver.

Brendon Stage

Maybe you’re not speaking for 12 hour days. But if you’ve only got a 45 minute keynote and the last speaker wen’t over 22 minutes. How prepared are you right now, to remove 3 stories, end on time for the organizer, and do it with such grace that nobody ever noticed you were planning on doing more material?

If the answer isn’t a resounding yes! Than we still have work to do to get you closer to professional level speaking.

Do this.

Begin laying out your content, themes, and stories in modules. Know which stories and ideas take 1 minute, 3 minutes, 5 minutes and 10 minutes to deliver. Learn that material so well that you know without a shadow of a doubt you can speak to any audience with no notice.

The decision we have to make as newbies or intermediate speakers is, is it worth it?

Is it worth it to become one of the best in the world. Admired by millions, impacting lives over and over again, and changing the world.

If you said yes to that question like I have, starting today, decide to go pro. Decide to lay your material out in modules like the best in the world. Once you’ve done that, you’ve begun the path to extraordinary.

Till next time, stay on the offensive. Aggressively pursue a better version of yourself. And remember what Jim Rohn said, “You cannot change the destination of your life overnight but you can change your direction.”

-J

Out.