26 Mar

My Latest Motivational Speaking Experience – 3/15/15

I think I’m starting to get the hang of this whole “ motivational speaker ” thing.
A few months ago, I expressed my desire to become a motivational speaker and actually booked my first gig (Spoiler Alert: it did not go all that well). Well, this past month I earned my shot at redemption.  Once a month, I attend a men’s fellowship group where we discuss all things spiritual that we as men go through. It has really touched my life and I felt I needed to give back in some way. Fortunately at one meeting the leader had expressed his desire to have folks present on various topics to help strengthen the minds, bodies, and spirits of the individuals in the group. All of a sudden, I felt a wave of excitement come over me. This is it, I thought. It’s the perfect opportunity to speak to others about success and achieving total life prosperity! I also just-so-happened to be creating a presentation on The 5 Essential Forces of Success for my next speaking opportunity, so it simply seemed heaven-sent!

Quickly, I spoke up and volunteered. It left me with about a month, which was plenty of time to pull together a presentation and practice it thoroughly. I knew I wanted to record the presentation and project a PowerPoint, so I also needed to procure a projector and camera for the event as well. Without hesitation, I sprang into action. I went down the list of contacts and found those that were willing to let me borrow the equipment. During that timeframe, I also whipped up a nice PowerPoint, created a custom background, and began woodshedding and tweaking my speaking points. In the back of my mind, I constantly remembered my last speaking engagement and my struggles. However, this time I had experience on my side and knew what failure tasted like. I would not let that happen again.

Day after day I balanced work, church, and practicing my presentation. I began rehearsing it in different rooms to ensure I didn’t get too comfortable. I also recorded myself to critique my speaking style and note what worked and what didn’t. Furthermore, I practiced in front of my wife, one of my biggest critics (second only to myself) and most trusted advisor, to get a different perspective on the presentation. My confidence was building and my comfort with the material was growing with every rehearsal. At times fear and doubt would cause me to lose focus, but I would swiftly remind myself that I am a practiced presenter in a low-risk environment. These people WANT to hear what I have to say and I won’t let them down. Thinking these thoughts replaced my fear and anxiety with excitement and anticipation.

Finally, the day of the presentation came. I was still a bit nervous, but I was ready. I performed a couple of run-throughs the day before and although I had stumbled a few times, I knew it was due to jitters and I was ready to deliver one of the most important presentations of my life to an intimate crowd of 10 or so guys, some of which were my very good friends. No pressure. I wanted to arrive early so I could set up the equipment and get familiar with the room, so the fellowship leader and I agreed to get there at least 15 minutes early. However, on the day of the presentation, he ended up running late after needing to pick up some last-minute items. My prep time was gone, and I had to rush to get things set up. No matter, I thought. I have practiced this thing countless times and I was not going to let a last-minute hiccup ruin my focus! At long last, it was time to begin. My palms were sweaty, and my legs were shaking. However, I was determined to perform well. I masterfully crafted my words and delivered with authority. My examples and anecdotes were clear and relatable. My mistakes were few and far between. In all, I was really proud of myself. I really felt the audience gained something that night. They were attentive, engaged, and interactive when needed. Most importantly, my confidence was through the roof! Wow, I thought. I really CAN do this.The toughest thing to do was keep a short memory about my past failures. However, I was able to learn from my failure, and use it to grow as a speaker. I realize not every speaking engagement will go smoothly, but with the right amount of effort, preparation, and motivation, I can minimize issues and ensure the audience will take away much from my words of inspiration.