If you ever see Ed Tate, 2000 World Champion of Public Speaking, ask him about his speech on the bus in New Zealand… It’s a favorite of mine. It is a story about how Stage Time under tough circumstances led to a bigger opportunity…
Here is more evidence that my mantra, Stage Time, Stage Time, Stage Time works. Read the e-mail I got from Michael Plaks, a fellow speaker and Edge Member. (Published with Michael’s permission.)
Subject: Thanks for the mantra
I belong to a large organization that generates a huge part of my clientele. They have monthly general meetings attended by hundreds of members. Naturally, speaking there is a highly coveted privilege as you’re speaking to a captive audience of hundreds of perfectly qualified prospects. Now, there are 5-min speaking slots (“vendor spotlight”) that are guaranteed to each vendor once a year, and there are 45-min keynote slots that are not guaranteed, and getting those is a rare luck that only a few vendors manage to secure.
My tax business is very seasonal, and my hottest month is March – so I always request my 5-min spotlights in March, and they have been crucial for my business. For those 5-min presentations, I prepare just as if they were contest speeches: weeks of rewriting, planning staging, props – all that stuff.
Today, we had one of those monthly meeting. No big deal, except that last night I received an e-mail offer to fill one of the vacant 5-min spots – today! Understand my dilemma: if I take the spot, I will use up my precious once-a-year opportunity in September which is a very slow month for my business, and I will give up the BEST month – next March. Besides, I’m certainly not going to be at my best, having only one night to prepare – instead of 2 months I usually take. Besides, I badly needed a haircut, and everything was closed by that time. In short: do I go with an under-prepared speech in a bad month, or do I wait and present a polished speech in a great month? I made the only choice that made business sense: decline the unexpected offer.
And then I heard that oh-so-familiar persistent voice: “stage time, stage time, stage time.” Uncharacteristically for me, 🙂 … I listened. As you may have guessed, this is where I stand at the end of the day: I did take that 5-min spot in this “dead” month, with one night worth of preparation, and literally on my “bad hair” day. Was not my best speech, but was not my worst either. After I finished, the new program coordinator approached me and offered – yes!!! – the 45-min keynote spot. And then he asked – when do you want it? I probed – how about March? He said – you got it!
Folks – dust off your copy of Darren’s CDs and listen again. It works!
2001 World Champion of Public Speaking
Are you making any of these Top 10 Speaking Mistakes?