success

The Trouble With Thinking Big

Many people that keep up with the latest trends in personal development find themselves surrounded by fads. These fads are often started by a new book, film or web site and then spread like wildfire. Some of them work while others are just noise.

One that I’ve been seeing and hearing over and over again is the concept of thinking big – if your goal isn’t big, throw it out and find a bigger one. To me, it’s just another way for people to feel like they’re moving towards their goals when they’re really not.

Ten Things I Learned About Speaking Beyond Toastmasters

I’m frequently invited to speak at Toastmasters clubs about how to speak beyond Toastmasters. Last year, I gave a presentation at a District Conference on this topic and was excited about how much interest there was in learning more about it. It’s just a natural progression – once you’ve peaked in Toastmasters, you feel ready to go out and use these skills that you’ve mastered.

So here are the top then things I’ve learned about speaking beyond Toastmasters:

  1. Ums and ahs don’t really matter unless they are excessive.
  2. Going over your allotted time can quickly turn your audience against you.

The Power of Habits

My first job out of college was at a media company and one of the things I found interesting was the addiction to coffee that many of my coworkers had. I stopped drinking coffee several years prior to that so I didn’t understand the need to add an extra thirty minutes to my morning commute for something the company offered for free in the kitchenette. So I asked a coworker why one would waste time and money in such a way and was enlightened by her answer.

She explained that there were two types of coffee -the good stuff that you get at the Starbucks and the like, and the cheap stuff that companies try to pass off as coffee (and a benefit to employees). Someone else got wind of this and decided to replace the coffee at work with the good stuff. They got a local premium coffee company to set up a station in the kitchenette at work with one of the highest quality coffees available and a number of their best flavors. One would think that this would have been a big hit but it only lasted for about a month.

Transitioning From Toastmaster to Professional Speaker

I’ve had a number of people ask me lately about how to go from a Toastmaster to someone who makes money speaking. Many of these people want to speak on their area of expertise while others are looking to speak about speaking. Those in the former have it a little easier because the key there is to just continue to develop your expertise while you graduate as a speaker to different audiences. Those in the latter have a more challenging road ahead because speaking to a Toastmasters audience is significantly different than speaking to other audiences – a fact which is often overlooked when speaking about Toastmaster-related topics. So I’m going to focus on the latter group for this article, but the former will definitely get some benefit from this too.

A Defeat Every Now And Then Can Be a Good Thing

Early in my career as a professional speaker, I made a lot of mistakes. I took on too many engagements when I had a lot of things going on with my personal life and with my job that paid the bills. I also made the mistake of allowing my contact for the presentation to select any topic that interested him or her, and then I would design a presentation around it. So I laugh to myself whenever I meet someone just getting into the speaking business that’s finding themselves battling these very frustrations.

Breaking Out of Jail One Spoon at a Time

When I was a kid, I remember a cartoon where this dog was in jail and planning his escape. His escape plan was simple – dig a tunnel underneath the prison to get him past the wall (about 500 yards). He knew that this was a big task and he didn’t have any heavy excavating equipment so he used a teaspoon – and dug the tunnel one spoonful at time.

This of course took him several years to accomplish, but it’s a good metaphor for how to handle big tasks. Had this convict just sat there and complained or worried about his situation, he would have nothing at the end of several years. By performing a consistent action – even something as small as digging a tunnel one spoonful per day – he had completed an escape route.

I’m Dying

When you pass someone in the hallway in a familiar setting such as a college or office, it’s common courtesy to say “hi” to them. The same holds true when you enter a waiting area, elevator or other small area and there’s only one other person there. Sometimes, a question such as “how are you?” or “how’s going is asked?” and this is where it starts getting interesting.

When people make this kind of small talk, they often do it on auto pilot because the typical response they get is “good” and then they reply with “good.” So I recently tried an experiment. When someone passing me by or sharing an elevator with me would ask me how I was, I replied with “I’m dying” nonchalantly. Seven out of eight times, they said “good” or “cool” – they had no idea what I said – the other person asked “figuratively or literally?”.

Page 9 of 17« First...7891011...Last »