Posts Tagged ‘National Speakers Association’

Speaker Magazine | 5 Times When ‘Faking It’ is Better Than Authenticity

August 28, 2013

Randy Pennington‘s piece for Speaker Magazine which I have linked here has some meaningful advice for ALL business people.  While not directly applicable to all the managers and business owners who regularly read my blog, I felt there was enough worth featuring it here.  In particular, the comments about being scared, tired, personal issues and why to NOT share with employees, clients and vendors.  Hope you find it useful.  I certainly did.

Speaker Magazine | 5 Times When ‘Faking It’ is Better Than Authenticity.


There have been times when I have put on an act for my clients and audiences. And, contrary to the conventional NSA wisdom about always being authentic, I contend that faking it in those moments was the absolute best thing I could do to serve my clients.

Here are five times when I’ve faked it in front of a client:

  1. I have been scared about my business. You’ve been there, right? You can’t remember the last time you had a prospect or lead. You show up for your one date this quarter. The worst thing we could do for that client or our long-term prospects for getting additional clients is admit how scared we feel.
  2. I disliked the audience and the audience disliked me. The client booked me for a 45-minute talk after a short dinner with a 15-minute open bar. I took the platform 60 minutes late after a 90-minute open bar in a room with terrible lighting, sight lines and sound. My introducer said, “They booked a speaker tonight, so here is Randy Pennington.” The feeling wasn’t personal, but it was mutual. And, I faked it. The audience finally liked me when I asked after 15 minutes, “I think I’m about done. What about you?”
  3. I was so tired that I couldn’t think straight. Imagine doing 29 two-hour presentations for a single client over 10 days. That’s stupid, right? But, we’ve all done stupid before. My client actually appreciated the fact that I faked my energy when I could have been authentically tired.
  4. I wanted to be anywhere but on the stage. The world doesn’t stop with the death, illness, or significant event of a loved one. And, there are times when canceling or finding a replacement isn’t an option. We do what we are hired to do, and recognize that it isn’t always appropriate to share our authentic pain with the audience.
  5. The show had to go on. We have all told an audience that we will never forget them. When it comes to my audience on May 3, 2011, that is absolutely true. While walking into a manufacturing plant for a presentation, I tripped over a crack in a sidewalk and did a face plant. Forty-five minutes later (and 10 minutes late from the official start time), I took the stage with a huge knot on my forehead. I probably could have canceled, but there were over 100 people in the room waiting for me, and the client had gone to considerable expense capture the engagement on video. Authentic would have been okay, but faking it was better.

There are things that you never fake—like your integrity and belief in your message. But, there are times when you are paid to be something different than your completely authentic, in-the-moment self. The mark of a true professional is having the audience think that your world is fine even when it isn’t.

You can learn more about Randy Pennington here.  For more tips aimed at professional speakers and presenters, here is the link to Speaker Magazine, a monthly publication of the National Speakers Association.

The Voice of Your Business

May 26, 2010

A few days ago, I was speaking for Eastside Business Association.
J.R. Gillespie came up to me when I arrived and introduced himself.  He said he had been in the audience when I spoke about 10 years ago at an event at Emerald Downs.

I am always flattered when someone who has heard me speak before comes to hear me again.  He went on to say that someone in the audience asked me what I felt was one thing small business owners could do to improve their business and I said they should get more comfortable at public speaking.

Years later, he remembered the suggestion, had taken it to heart and felt it had made a difference for him.  As a result, I felt I should share it with you.

Public speaking ranks higher than death in “fears commonly held”.  Yet once you are outside your own home, it’s ALL “public speaking”.  Your ability to speak authoritatively about your business, what differentiates you from your competition, new products or services or the expertise of your team is a great marketing tool.

A comfort with public speaking does not necessarily mean being a professional speaker like me or standing at a podium addressing a group.  However, we are all the “voice” of our business and we need to be comfortable speaking for and about our businesses in groups of 2, 20 or 200.  The personal connection you make with an audience, regardless of size or setting, is a competitive advantage.

The power of your voice, the passion you feel for your industry, your services and what you offer the marketplace will establish you as an expert in your field.  You will become synonymous with your goods or services in their minds and share of mind always equals share of market.

Want to be a more confident speaker to take advantage of the many benefits public speaking offers you and your business?  Join a local Toastmasters Club to practice in a safe environment and learn skills. Volunteer for a committee or board of a civic organization so weekly or monthly you have to stand up and give a “status report” to the group as another way to learn and practice.

The National Speakers Association has a local Chapter you can visit to see professional speakers at work and learn tips from the masters.  When you feel you need to make more professional presentations, top speakers such as Patricia Fripp offer public workshops and coach one-on-one with executives to improve the delivery of their message.

You are the voice of your business in the community.  Getting comfortable with this role through improved skills in public speaking will set you apart from your competitors, establish you as an expert in your field and make memorable connections with current and future customers.

A Little Bit Country – Part 1

February 10, 2010

This week the National Speakers Association (of which I am a member) is having their conference in Nashville.  

Enjoying my first trip to Music City looking forward to the show Saturday night at the Grand Ole Opry has put me in a country music state of mind.

Growing up, my dad listened to Big Band music and didn’t think a decent song had been written since 1949.  My mom was a lifelong fan of country music which probably accounts for my hard left turn AWAY from this American art form in my teens.  My record collection (yes, they were records in those days) included, Chicago, Three Dog Night, The Stylistics, Donna Summer and of course, David Cassidy (OMG – David Cassidy!).  John Denver was as close to country as I got.

Then I moved to Dallas. That sentence should explain it all.  The office where I worked played country music over the PA system.  There was no avoiding it – even the bathroom had a speaker!  I spent the first month or so cringing at the twanging.  Then, like water on a stone, certain songs began to make inroads into my heart.  I went from begrudgingly admitting, “That’s not too bad” to “Shhhh, this is my song.”  I have to attribute my conversion to George Strait’s “Nobody In His Right Mind Would Have Left Her”, still one of my top 10 country songs.

If you don’t listen to country music, or think you like country music, you might want to give it another try.  There is a reason the country music station is the top music radio station in every market.

Just TRY to get good seats for a major country music concert….first time my husband, John Murphy and I went to a George Strait concert, our seats were up against the ceiling in the very top/back row of the MGM arena in Las Vegas.

When the George Strait CD came out a couple of years ago titled “50 #1 Hits” his comment was, “Wow, 50 #1 songs, you’ve got to be doing something right”.

Yes, country has some twang, George Strait’s current hit is even titled “Twang”.  There is a fair portion of “honky-tonk” “boot-scooting” tunes.  I know the joke, “What do you get if you play a country song backward?  You get your dog back, your truck back, your job back, your wife back…”  But the words and music of country songs will make you laugh, cry and love if you are willing to give a listen.

Friday I will give you a few of my favorites to get next time you are on iTunes including GREAT music to say “I love you” on Valentine’s Day.

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