I have an eye for budding speakers. It’s also right to say that I have an ear as well for potential speakers trying to enter the lecture circuit.
I listen to them speak and check their content. I also watch how they deliver their piece. I study their pedigree and engage them in an “ambush interview” to see how they react or respond under pressure. Then I make an assessment and decide whether I would mentor them or not.
Throughout my speaking career, I’ve mentored a handful of them. One has become popular. He’s written books, and now has his own TV and radio program. Another one I challenged to write a book, and pursue speaking and training as a full-time career. This scared the pants out of him, and his wife got so concerned. But I knew that what he knows would be beneficial to many if he’d share it and teach it. I patiently explained to him his strengths and the market opportunities that await his services. It took him a long time to make the bold decision, but he eventually heeded my advice. Now he’s an acknowledged consultant and a budding “guru” in the field of finances. And his wife fully supports him too. A couple of years ago, there was this bright young kid who loves reading books. He would run after me, and during my spare time, I would have coffee with him and he’d ask me questions. I challenged him to read more books then tell me what he learned. The kid was amazing. With his love for learning and his confidence, I knew he’d go places. He’s a young man now, and he’s spoken in TED conferences. He has already received countless awards even if he’s just starting out in his speaking career. He makes me truly proud.
Wanting to become a speaker or trainer? This is what I’ve observed: the best speakers have two things: content and delivery. Having one without the other isn’t acceptable. And the best trainers are practitioners.
In our outfit, we have an actual sales director of a huge company teaching and training people in the area of Sales and Selling. This person has worked a long time in different industries, and his track record is very impressive.
He may have started out late in his speaking career, yet in just a short time, he already has an impressive number of admiring audiences. We have a young lawyer teaching conflict resolution. The achievements he’s gathered throughout his practice are impressive given his young age.
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He’s currently swamped with in-house training requirements, because clients know that he could help them with their needs. We also have an excellent speaker and trainer in the field of customer service. He has served in many of the world’s best and most respected hotels, thus he brings with him a wealth of firsthand experience and knowledge.
Here’s my point: if you want to do public speaking and training, you must first develop a track record and achieve excellent results. Don’t focus on being famous or on building yourself up; focus on helping others and building them up. And be trustworthy and develop a strong sense of integrity; without these everything collapses.
Teachers know this, professors are familiar with this, and in my opinion, speakers and trainers should always keep this in mind: “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates.
The great teacher inspires.” Wisdom from William Ward.
Great teachers inspire because they speak of firsthand experiences. They don’t just mouth clichés or lift stories from books. They always have fresh stories to tell, and the audiences really learn from them. Good speakers and trainers are actually practitioners who don’t practice what they preach; they simply preach what they’re already practicing.
Build your competence. Build your skills. Build your credibility. And build your character. Then the opportunities will open up in great and amazing ways.
(Develop your leadership skills and life skills by spending two whole days with Francis Kong on November 21-22 at the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel. Call Inspire at 09158055910, or 632-6310912 for details. Connect with Francis Kong via his Facebook page, www.facebook.com/franciskong2.)