Tag Archives: Motivational Speakers

It’s Motivational Monday with Kelly Swanson

One Family’s Leap of Courage

Today I will let this video say it all:

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Being a motivational speaker rocks!

Kelly SwansonKELLY SWANSON is an award-winning storyteller, comedian, author, motivational speaker. She has been described by Our State Magazine as one of North Carolina’s funniest women. She uses hilarious comedy, powerful stories, and a wacky cast of southern characters to make people laugh, remind them of their value, and show them how to stand up and stick out in their lives, businesses, and communities. Her shows have delighted audiences from coast to coast, from board rooms to cruise ships. To invite Kelly to your 2014 event, contact Sue Falcone at sue@simplysuespeaks.com or call 1-888-766-3155.

10 Presentation Trends for 2014

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2014In 2014 presentation skills will reign supreme. Leaders and entrepreneurs will need to be more visible across different media platforms. Speaking is the new competitive advantage and the bar has been raised. Here are the trends in presentations that I predict for 2014.

  1. Broadcasting skills – Whether you’re an entrepreneur or employed by a company, expect to have your 15 minutes of fame.Today’s presenters need broadcasting skills.Media training will become a vital success skill even for those who do not speak to the press. I’m currently coaching a client to lead quarterly webcasts. Five years ago this senior executive wasn’t doing any broadcasting. This client has since been filmed for executive promotional videos. Video presentations will increase in popularity. I useeyejot.com to send quick video emails. Videos can be very effective or very detrimental if you have weak presentation skills.
  2. Mobile presentations – Mobil technology is exploding and the number of apps is growing. This will require adjustments in the way we communicate. Slide shows and websites must be adjusted for mobile devices.The key word in presentations is portability. On a personal note, I now videotape my coaching clients on the ipad. The quality is as good as a video camera and it’s easier to transport.
  3. Increased Need for Speaker Training – The need for excellent presentation skills will increase.due to the competitive nature of the market. Products and services can quickly become commodities and in order to be persuasive, presenters will need to know how to capture and hold the ear of the listeners.
  4. Self marketing presentations – Personal branding will become even more important. In a crowded market place where good jobs are at a premium. Job candidates will have to master marketing and selling. That means understanding what makes them unique and how to position themselves, their message, and their value with clarity and impact. Lack of confidence will be the deal breaker. Speakmarketing will be a growing factor for small business success. Presently, I’m coaching  small businesses to developwebinars to grow their businesses.
  5. Storytelling – Telling stories will no longer be the domain for the talented few. Leaders will be challenged to learn the art of storytelling to develop trust, express their vision and to lead their teams. And storytelling skills will be the differentiater in the job interview.Certain companies such as Pepsico, have a culture of storytelling. The best interviewers will invest in public speaking coaching to learn to tell their story instead of presenting their resume.
  6. Authenticity – Audiences are more sophisticated and less tolerant than ever. They want to know who the speaker is as a person.Do they walk their talk? Audiences will value  presenters who are real versus a just-the-facts approach. I was asked to coach somebody who had a well-crafted PowerPoint deck but delivered it like a talking head. Listeners are thinking “Who are you?”
  7. Increased Audience Interaction – The key word is connection. In a society where there is less time for socializing and more stress, people want to have an experience and participate with the speaker. Watch for increased live polling, tweeting, live streaming,and audience participation. Technology will level the playing field as speakers can now use inexpensive polling software on their mobile devices.There will also be an increase in virtual presentations. I’m coaching more clients remotely due to technology tools.
  8. Less Fluff More Value – Motivational speakers will always be popular as long as the human soul craves uplifting messages. But today’s presenters need more than a string of ‘feel good” stories. They must be able to provide value, tips, strategies, action steps, a different way of thinking along with those stories. Audiences are more demanding.
  9. Shorter Keynote Speeches – The 18 minute TED-like talk will become more commonplace. This is already happening at conferences. Instead of the one to three hour breakout sessions, event planners and audiences are opting for a series of shorter talks.
  10. Continuity – The old transactional model of giving a one hour presentation and then return to business as usual,  will give way to the idea of continuity.The message will continue after the event or meeting with additional contact and add-on resources. Despite the fact that younger audiences are leaving facebook, social media will continue to be an important communication channel for staying connected. However, people will consider the return on their time and become more focused and narrow in their social media communication.

All of these trends can be summarized in one idea: Public speaking is more important than ever. The need for excellent presentation skills is not going away. It will only increase in 2014 and beyond. Just as with technology upgrades,presenters will upgrade their public speaking skills or risk becoming obsolete.

It’s Motivation Monday with Kelly Swanson

Motivational Speakers Still Need Points

Motivational Speaking Isn’t Just About Making People Feel Good

micI’m amazed at how many aspiring motivational speakers I meet who just want to get on a stage and make people feel good.

Really?

Well, here’s the first bucket of cold water: Nobody cares about that. And, even more important, nobody’s paying for that. I have yet to ever be called by a client who wants me to just come make them feel good.

So if you think your career will consist of you getting on a stage and telling them stories about yourself that make them laugh and cry, you have missed something very important. The point.

Motivational Speakers Need Points

I made the same mistake when I crossed over from professional storyteller to professional speaker. I figured I could just get up there and wow them with my wit and charm them with my stories. While this is still a BIG part of what I do, and the reason that gets me booked, it wasn’t enough. I needed points. I needed a message. I needed to teach my audience something.

The good news is that it’s not hard to find your message. In fact, I think you already  have them. They are your truths. The things you have learned. What life and business has taught you. You just haven’t had anyone help pull them out of you.

Whether you hire a speaker coach like me, or do it yourself, take the time to figure out the points you want to make. Understand the problem that you are here to solve. Know the steps you want to share with them to help them fix this problem. Make sure your language is encouraging and has a call to action.

Then you can focus on the wit and the stories.

If you need help finding the point, just let me know. Until then, happy soul searching!

Kelly SwansonKELLY SWANSON is an award-winning storyteller, comedian, author, motivational speaker. She has been described by Our State Magazine as one of North Carolina’s funniest women. She uses hilarious comedy, powerful stories, and a wacky cast of southern characters to make people laugh, remind them of their value, and show them how to stand up and stick out in their lives, businesses, and communities. Her shows have delighted audiences from coast to coast, from board rooms to cruise ships. To invite Kelly to your 2014 event, contact Sue Falcone at sue@simplysuespeaks.com or call 1-888-766-3155.

It’s Motivational Monday with Kelly Swanson

Motivational Speaker In Five Simple Steps

SwansonDSC_3524I am convinced that one is born every minute. A motivational speaker, I mean. Every time I get up on a stage, someone sits out there and says, “I can do that!” And since there is no barrier to entry, they usually do. But saying you want to be a motivational speaker, and actually making money as a motivational speaker are two very different things, and there is a long path from one to the other. I know, because I’ve been walking it for years. So today, I have found a way to narrow down my advice to five steps. These aren’t observations about the industry, or even words of advice. They are steps – as in do one, then the other, etc.

1. Figure out what you speak about. Understand what it is you help people do, how it solves their problem, why you’re the one to help, and how you’re going to help them get there. This is called message and content. If you just want to tell funny stories and make people laugh, you are only halfway there. That’s how you deliver the message. First figure out the message. If there’s no message, then you’re an entertainer.

2. Write a speech. A phenomenal speech. A speech that you know inside and out and backwards and forwards, filled with your best stuff. Don’t start selling a product you don’t have yet. If you don’t have a speech, you aren’t ready to sell a speech.

3. Build an online platform where people can find you and see what you’re all about. This is the website, the online one-sheet, the videos – anything that will show them what it’s like to have you speak. They don’t just want to know what you speak about, they want to know how you deliver the message, what the experience is like.

4. Figure out your fees and your sales pitch.  You can’t stammer on the phone and hope you come up with the right words in the right moment. You should be very clear on what you speak about, how to relay that message and fit their pain point, how you are different from the other speakers they are looking at, how this process of booking you works, and how much your charge. Learn to sell like you’re not selling.

5. Start building a list of people who books speakers like you, and reaching out to them regularly. I can already hear you now, “But I don’t know HOW!”  Then figure it out, just like the rest of us did. No, you can’t buy a list. No you can’t pay someone else to find you jobs. No, paying to get an ad on Google isn’t enough. And even if you hire a coach, you’re still going to have to do the work yourself. Start building an email list and a database of current and potential clients. And contact them routinely, as in quarterly, not hourly.  And start sending your message out to the world through every online means that works for you. If you want to encourage people and make them laugh, quit waiting for someone to hire you – start doing it. Use Facebook to make people laugh. Build a following. Write a blog that encourages people. As Nike so brilliantly says, “Just do it.”

There you go. Five steps. Not easy. It never is. But it is that simple.

Good luck! Now get back to work.

Kelly SwansonKELLY SWANSON is an award-winning storyteller, comedian, author, motivational speaker. She has been described by Our State Magazine as one of North Carolina’s funniest women. She uses hilarious comedy, powerful stories, and a wacky cast of southern characters to make people laugh, remind them of their value, and show them how to stand up and stick out in their lives, businesses, and communities. Her shows have delighted audiences from coast to coast, from board rooms to cruise ships. To invite Kelly to your 2014 event, contact Sue Falcone at sue@simplysuespeaks.com or call 1-888-766-3155.

It’s Motivational Monday with Kelly Swanson

Time Suckers

IMG_2138As a motivational speaker, author, mom, and wife, my list of things to do is always longer than the amount time I have to do it. So time management is critical for me to achieve my goals and have the quality life I want.

I like to think I have a good handle on my time. I make my lists. I understand my priorities. And I can do a heck of a lot of things in a day. But there’s always that one sneaky thing that comes hurling in from left field – the task I didn’t anticipate – the emergency I didn’t see coming – someone else’s need for my attention that breaks into my neatly listed life. Enter in the time sucker.

I have made it a goal to deal with the time sucker – to be proactive rather than reactive – to not let it hijack my day. Easier said than done – especially in business where you don’t always have the upper hand. Some time suckers must be given immediate attention. But I’m finding that I have been giving attention when it’s not necessary. So here’s my plan to deal with the time sucker.

1. Assess the true priority. It might not be as important as you think. Can this task be put on the “to do” list and scheduled during  a down time?

2. Watch out for the accidental time sucker. This is a big one for me. It’s called Facebook. I say Facebook is an important tool for me to connect with my audience. And it’s true. But it’s not important enough to do first thing in the morning when I am fresh and have calls to make. And one “quick peak” is always at least an hour or more as I scroll through pictures of your kids and your cars. This is an evil time sucker.  So I’m making a new rule. I’m only going to check Facebook at night when I’m winding down and watching television. And now I’m on the lookout for other accidental time suckers – like a laundry basket at the top of the stairs, or a sale in the store window, or wouldn’t it be nice to light a candle right now.

3. Know what must be done first every day. It’s almost impossible for me to manage my day if I don’t have a clear list in my head of what MUST be done before everything else. Sounds basic, but many times I forget and just ramble through the day hopping from one task to another. I need a list to follow – make meals, spend time with son, exercise, blog, follow up on a lead, handle any administrative task relating to that week’s job, etc.  I am convinced that without a plan I would have no control over my time and would be a lot more stressed. So I have a plan for my year, which keeps me focused on the big picture. I have a plan for my month, which is really a snapshot of that month’s calendar. I have a plan for the day, which is a task list to the side of my calendar, and includes the things I have determined need to be done every day to meet the needs of my yearly business plan.

4. Have good systems in place for the daily processes. What happens when a lead comes in? Where does it get documented? What happens next? What keeps it from slipping through the cracks? Where do I put creative story ideas? Where do they go when they need to be memorized? Where do I organize them online?  My business and life run on many systems, and often when I find time suckers creep in, it’s because there hasn’t been a system designed. You can have a system for household tasks, your health and wellness, your kids’ activities, your sales calls, your customer service, etc.  The ideal would be to have every distraction filtered through a system for handling it.

5. Have an email/phone/person distraction plan.  We get distractions in many forms. Yours may be people showing up in your office. Mine is phone and email.  Working from home gives my friends and family the impression that I’m always available. Taking a personal call during the day is not productive. It’s a time sucker. So I have a scripted response when I get a personal call during work hours.  You could do the same for people who come into your office unannounced.  And then there’s the dreaded email attack on my life. Email is a boulder always hanging over me. I have this “thing” that I can’t stand to see hundreds of emails in my inbox. I want it empty. And with hundreds coming in every day, this is a daunting task. Emails have become another to-do list for me – culling through spam, determining who needs to be answered when, and handling the tasks associated with each email.  Here is where it is CRITICAL that I stay on task.  My daily plan is NOT to answer one email and then  move on to the next. My daily plan is to do my daily priorities, and treat these emails as distractions, only getting top priority if they truly deserve top priority. And opening that funny video from your Uncle Clyde is not a top priority.

The key to time management is not being able to get everything done, but knowing what must be done now, and what can be done later, and having the right systems in place to handle distractions.

It sounds like a lot of work, staying focused. And it is. But it’s worth it. And when you get a habit down of sticking to your priorities, you will actually be more relaxed and see that there is not as much to do as you once thought.  So let’s take control of our time rather than letting our time control us.

Happy planning!

kellyswansonKELLY SWANSON is an award-winning storyteller, comedian, author, motivational speaker. She has been described by Our State Magazine as one of North Carolina’s funniest women. She uses hilarious comedy, powerful stories, and a wacky cast of southern characters to make people laugh, remind them of their value, and show them how to stand up and stick out in their lives, businesses, and communities. Her shows have delighted audiences from coast to coast, from board rooms to cruise ships. To invite Kelly to your 2014 event, contact Sue Falcone at sue@simplysuespeaks.com or call 1-888-766-3155.