Monday, April 30, 2007

What Kind Of Speaker Am I?

It's a nagging question. I've logged hundreds of miles over the past year. Spoken to over 120 groups. I feel ... I improve with each speech. My collection of speeches have been reworked and I have never delivered two speeches the exact same way. I speak from my heart ... not my head. As a result, sometimes I trip over my tongue. But I think the audience forgives that. They want authenticity. They want to be entertained. And sometimes, they even learn things. Not just about me, but about themselves.

I'm not like a lot of speakers. I'm not sure that my speeches will inspire and motivate employees to add to their company's bottom line. At heart, I'm a laid-back country girl. Time-management does not compute in my brain to any great degree. I work on my own schedule, for the most part. Although I do run on high most of the time, I don't like telling folks how to manage their workload. Geesh. For God's sake, by the time you're 21, you should've figured that out. It's not rocket science.

I'm just not made up that way. I think people want a message. One that sings to their memories, or jolts their heart. I think, even in the corporate world, getting employees to like themselves ... makes us more productive on the job. Motivating employees to reach out and help their co-workers who have a need ... it's part of becoming a good steward. It's my desire to speak that into my listener. So yes, I want to do more corporate gigs.

My friend, Dena Harris,, is a fantastic writer and speaker. Witty and wonderful, this gal writes for magazines and teaches how to do it. She's an amazing non-fiction writer that has written books and speaks on the publishing process. Check out her web site, it boggles my mind at her workload. My friend, Lisa Wynn,, check her out. She's amazing, as well. She's also the co-founder of the National Women's Entrepreneur group, Hell on Heelz. She also owns a tea company and distributes all over the globe. These two women kick butt in the non-fiction world.

I'm looking to do the same at the other end of the spectrum. Which is, in most cases, very difficult. How many authors who write fiction speak outside of writing circles? Few, to my knowledge. I'm a storyteller, yes, but I've also spent many years in corporate and management. In speaking, I want to mix the two worlds. And I think ... it could be a winner.

Trouble is, how to promote it. How to get the word out that my speech is worth what I'm now charging. Scott Ginsberg says, "If you have to tell people who you are, you aren't." Or at least he quoted that at the NSA meeting in Charlotte a couple weeks ago. I learned I had to tell myself, "I'm not for free anymore. " And yet, the value and experience I gained over the past year, has been priceless to me. I thank so many for letting me break myself in.

So I got to thinking, I've got to find out who I am as a speaker ... But first, I'll send out an email to my friends and acquaintances. I asked them this question: When you think of me, what's the first word that comes to mind?

Here are my words:
Drama Queen (Hey! that's two words!) genuine, funny, kind, patient, insightful, hard-working, beautiful, pretty, fatn'fluffy, wise, storyteller, charming, bright, talented, shiny, bubbly, happy, driven, inspirational, maternal, committed, radiant, bossy (hmmm), integrity, boobalicious (guess who said that one?) dramatic, supportive, stubborn (boo, hiss), friendly, caring, dreamer, inspired, captivating, purposeful, and last but not least, dedicated.

Now, of course, those were from my friends and family. I'm sure I can conjure up a few folks that may not agree ... but hey, so what. This was a great exercise. And suddenly, I began to think of ways to market my speaking career.

Props to all my peeps for their words.

Tomorrow I speak to Southwest Cabarrus Rotary. It'll be one of my last speaking gigs for a while. I'm purposely slowing down to finish my novel, but I'm also gearing up for what my future holds as a paid speaker.

What kind of speaker am I? I'm finding out every day.

Blessings to you and yours.

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