Keynote Speaking; Should you do it too?
At the end of the day, speaking to a crowd is why I do everything else that I do. I LOVE to speak publicly, which I completely understand is insane (according to most US polls one the topic). I think Jerry Seinfeld said it best when he said that America’s number one fear is speaking in public, and number two is dying. In other words, if you had to be at a funeral, you would rather be in the casket than delivering the eulogy.
So how do you know if delivering a keynote speech is for you? How did I know? So my story goes like this; I was painfully shy growing up. I mean … PAINFULLY shy. The kind of shy where you get close to the party you are going to and wait for your stomach ache to go away before you go in. The kind of shy when you meet a stranger, you shake their hand, but don’t make eye contact. Then you forget their name because you were so worried about what you said to them, that you forgot to listen to them introduce themselves. That was me.
One day when I was 15 years old, I was invited to a friends birthday party. She was cute and she had some older “cool kid” friends so I was pretty freaked out about the whole idea. I remember standing on her front lawn listening to the music and party inside, feeling nervous to even make the approach. I distinctly remember thinking, I’m pathetic! What the hell is my problem!? Why are they any better than I am? And then it hit me. They aren’t. They were all nice people and honestly, they probably weren’t having any thoughts about me one way or the other. They were probably eating pizza, drinking coke, listening to music and laughing at each others jokes. So I just decided to change. And that’s what I did. The end…
… is what I wish would have happened. Actually, I did stand there and promise myself that I was done being shy and that I was going to fix it. So I went in, was totally awkward, and had a great time.
The very next day I was at a church activity. The leaders asked for a volunteer to get up and speak in front of about 300 people. I don’t know what came over me but I stood up and spoke. The more I spoke the more people were laughing. By the end, I had people wiping tears from laughing so hard. I walked off of that stage 12 feet tall. I had someone ask how long I had been preparing for that. When I said that I had improvised, he didn’t believe me. That felt great too. And that’s when I realized how much fun I had while I was speaking. I decided that I was going to get better at it, so I started practicing and volunteering to speak. At church, at school, at work… literally wherever. By the time I was 19, I was speaking regularly, and by the time I was 22, I was getting paid to speak. I absolutely love to speak, train, teach, lecture, or whatever you want to call being a Keynote Speaker.
I now speak for myself at Herrscher Consulting. Clients hire me to deliver a certain speech, or training to specific groups of people. I learned a long time ago that when you are able to take complex topics, break them down into more manageable pieces, and drive home concepts with real life examples, (especially if they are real life examples from MY real life) the students or attendees actually forget that they are at a “speech” or “training”. They actually enjoy the class, AND they take away important concepts. I absolutely love it! I have a great mentor that calls this type of teaching “Edutainment”. And there is no reason that all learning cannot be by Edutainment.
Today, I speak regularly on many topics such as Leadership, workplace violence, mental health in the workplace, PTSD, human trafficking, and many others. I also take topics from my clients and I create trainings and speeches specifically tailored for them.
If you are interested in being coached on becoming a public speaker, or any of the other coaching topics we offer, please email me at jorey@HerrscherConsulting.com.
If you are interested in hiring Herrscher Consulting to speak or train with your organization, please visit our Speaking and Training Page, or email me at jorey@HerrscherConsulting.com.
If you are just curious and would like to look around to see what we offer, check out our website at Herrscher.Consulting.