Neil Patel’s “Fake It Until You Make It” (And Six More Tips from This Online Marketing Entrepreneur)

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Neil Patel is a world-renowned expert in search engine optimization and digital marketing. He has also leveraged this expertise to create a successful speaking career. And in all his efforts, his confident approach never fails to captivate.

As an influencer, you’re not going to get stage fright. But there is a big difference between not being afraid and radiating confidence. In order to give truly captivating speeches, you will need to do the latter.

You’ll need to share your experiences to connect with your audience on a deeper level. You’ll also need to expose your vulnerabilities. This is one of the lessons you’ll learn at Speakers Institute. It is not easy. But with enough confidence, you can do it. Fortunately, you don’t need to be born with a confident personality - this is something you can learn.

For an example of someone who has developed a confident approach and benefited greatly from it, you can turn to Neil Patel.

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Who Is Neil Patel?

If you have any interest in online marketing, you’ve undoubtedly heard of Neil Patel. And even if you don’t care for this field, it’s possible you’ve stumbled across one of his blogs. That is because Patel is very good at getting search engines to show you what he wants you to see.

These skills have allowed him to establish successful companies such as Kissmetrics and Crazy Egg. In addition, he has worked with the likes of Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Airbnb, and so on. He is also a bestselling author.

For his work, numerous organisations have recognised him as a leader in his field. He has even received acknowledgment from President Obama and the United Nations.

While this is his forte, Patel is also an accomplished speaker. The fact that he has had more than 300 speaking engagements to date is proof of this.

In his speeches, Patel excels at topics such as growth marketing and entrepreneurship. By drawing from personal experience, he can provide in-depth insights. He’s also not afraid to discuss his business failures, allowing him to address his audience’s biggest pain points.

And throughout all this, one trait stands out – confidence. But, the most interesting part is how Patel got to that point.

“I used to be quite shy. It wasn’t until I worked as a vacuum cleaner salesman that I learned to put myself out there.”

The gist of Patel’s approach is to learn from experience. He doesn’t attribute his success to natural abilities. Instead, he became confident through trial and error.

“That’s how I got to where I am in life. I’m not smarter than most people, I didn’t get the best grades when I was a kid… But, I just kept at it, I never gave up, and I learned from my mistakes. If you avoid making the same mistakes over and over again and you learn from them, eventually you’ll know what not to do. Which leaves you with one simple thing – the stuff that you should be doing.”

Through perseverance, Patel acquired the confidence he needed. In turn, it propelled him to major success. So, if that dose of confidence is what you’re lacking to take your speaking career to the next level, you just need to work on it.

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Tips to Build Confidence and Leave an Impression

As mentioned, Patel didn’t start out as someone who could instantly captivate an audience through his confidence. He got there with practice.

Due to this, he has shared some of the tips which have helped him along the way in his blog. As a storyshower, you stand to benefit greatly from them.

Tip 1: Fake It Until You Make It

The titular tip is something any new speaker should pay great attention to.

In the long run, your confidence needs to come from within – that’s how you’ll be able to maintain it no matter the situation. But right now, there’s nothing wrong with “cheating” a bit to create the illusion that you’re more confident than you actually are.

This can take many forms. Perhaps you have a favourite outfit you know looks good on you. Or, you can wear that perfume people have complimented numerous times. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as it puts a bit of extra pep in your step.

At one point, Patel wanted to test this out so he spent an exorbitant amount of money on fancy clothes. The idea was to create an outward image of success and confidence. Unsurprisingly, the ploy worked and ended up earning him several times more than he had put in.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you should spend your life savings on clothes and accessories. But you can use a few shortcuts to give yourself a temporary confidence boost.

And throughout all this, make sure to use eye contact. If you start to doubt yourself, don’t avert your gaze – that will instantly give you away. Instead, retain eye contact and continue sending the right message.

Tip 2: Stay Positive

Confidence is an expression of your belief in your abilities. Therefore, you can’t be confident if you’re wallowing in negativity. Thus, you need to develop a positive mindset.

This was crucial for Patel’s career. He may have had a lot of early success, but he also had failures. In fact, he had lost US$ 1 million before turning 21. But, he stayed positive and turned it around. This is what you should do as well.

For some people, affirmations can do the trick. This amounts to repeating positive statements. For others, it can help to distance yourself from your problems. Consider how someone else would deal with what’s worrying you. With some distance, you may see a logical solution. This can give you the confidence to proceed.

You can also take some time each day to reflect and focus on what you’re grateful for. Make a habit of it and it could turn into a beacon of positivity.

Tip 3: Silence the Inner Voice

As you’re about to give a speech, you’ll hear that voice at the back of your head. It tells you people are going to boo you off the stage. When this happens, stop it before it gets out of hand.

Yes, it is possible your speech won’t go as planned. But it can also go even better than expected, particularly if you’re prepared.

Negative thoughts will creep in, you can’t prevent that. But, you do not need to let them dominate your thinking. Instead, reframe them and focus on what you’re doing right.

Tip 4: Take Care of Yourself

Stress will eat away at your confidence, it’s as simple as that. Unfortunately, you can’t always avoid it. As an influencer, you will constantly be thinking about building up your brand, and that will take a toll. That’s why it is very important to find a way to alleviate stress.

For Patel, this means getting plenty of sleep – nine hours or more. For you, it can mean going to a restaurant, spending time with friends, enjoying a hobby, etc. The crucial part is, you need a vent for all the stress.

Tip 5: Research

It’s easy to feel doubt when you don’t know what’s ahead of you. That’s why you should do everything you can to research the people you’ll be speaking to.

Learn why they’re there and what motivates them. This is easier if you’re only speaking to a small group, but it works under other circumstances as well. Talk with the event organiser and collect as much information as you can. Knowing what to expect will make it much easier to stay confident.

Tip 6: Use Solid Data

When you’re speaking, you should have solid facts and figures to back up your claims. Of course, truly engaging speeches are a mixture of emotion and logic, so you shouldn’t go too far with this.

However, you will draw a lot of confidence from knowing that your speech contains elements absolutely no one could dispute. The data is an anchor, and it will provide stability.

Tip 7: Master the Elevator Speech

Your goal as a speaker is to stand in front of an audience, show them your story, and leave a lasting impression. But, you won’t always be giving long speeches to roomfuls of people. To get there, you’ll often need to quickly explain what you’re about. In other words, you need an elevator speech, and you need to deliver it with the utmost confidence.

This speech has three main elements. You need to explain what you do, which problems your speaking addresses, and what separates you from other speakers. You just need to practice until you can cover all this in around 30 seconds.

Master the elevator speech, and you’ll know you’re always ready to grab an opportunity – this will build up your confidence.

The Final Word

Confidence isn’t a replacement for skill and effort, meaning you can’t build a speaking career on it alone. But, it is a crucial component, one which will amplify your strengths and make your speeches impactful.

Confidence is also something you can improve with time. It worked for Neil Patel, and it can work for you.

So, make an effort to stay positive and ignore your inner critic. Do your homework before each speech and be ready. Also, there’s nothing wrong with playing up your confidence from time to time.

Practice this regularly and you’ll see a shift. Your mindset will change, and this confidence will then come even without the extra effort.

Speakers Institute can teach you a lot more about succeeding in the speaking business. To get started, we recommend the following steps:

  • Head to GREENROOM. The #1 Online Hub connecting you to the world’s leading Influencers, Training and Curriculum.

For information on dates and times of our live events, just go here: LIVE EVENTS.

Lou Gehrig’s Farewell to Baseball Address (And How One Man Showed a Vulnerability That Enraptured His Audience)

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Emotion is the key when it comes to engaging an audience. Surprisingly, an American baseball legend offers one of the best examples of how to use emotion as a speaker.

We admire sportspeople for their athletic exploits. It’s even fair to say that great athletes can inspire others to do amazing things. After all, they push the boundaries of physical achievement and show us what’s possible with our own bodies.

In this way, a great athlete can be an influencer.

However, athletes typically aren’t the first people most think about when they consider great speakers. Most athletes limit their verbal contributions to interviews and the occasional talk show.

That makes it all the more surprising that it is an athlete who offers one of the best examples of using emotion to engage an audience when speaking.

In 1939, Lou Gehrig stood on a baseball field and delivered one of the most moving speeches of the 20th century.

This article will highlight some of the lessons that speakers can take from that speech. But first, let’s find out a little bit more about who Lou Gehrig was.

Who Was Lou Gehrig?

Born in New York in 1903, Lou Gehrig was the son of German immigrants who’d only arrived in the United States a couple of days prior.

He grew up in abject poverty. None of his three siblings survived through infancy and his father was an alcoholic. However, his mother was a hard worker who constantly pushed her son to educate himself.

And it was during his schooling that Gehrig began to show a talent for physical activities. In particular, he had a gift for baseball that none of his fellow students could rival.

Gehrig graduated high school and began studying at Columbia University. There, he starred for both the football and baseball teams. His batting ability drew the attention of the New York Yankees, who signed him to a professional contract in 1923.

Thus began the career of a baseball legend. Gehrig went on to play 2,130 consecutive games for the Yankees. Along the way, he won many championships and enjoyed a career that made him a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame.

Unfortunately, his performances began to suffer during the 1938 season. Perturbed by this sudden drop in his abilities, Gehrig checked himself into the Mayo Clinic for testing.

It was here that he discovered that he had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

The condition forced an immediate retirement from the field. In front of the fans that had cheered him on for over a decade, Gehrig delivered an impactful retirement speech.

His farewell to baseball offers so much that speakers can bring to their own work. Here are four lessons for you to take away from it.

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Lesson #1 – Showcase Your Vulnerability to Engage Your Audience

During his playing career, Gehrig earned the nickname of “The Iron Horse”. A consistently strong presence, he was a player who approached every game with a powerful resolve.

He showcases that iron resolve during his speech. But for the first time, fans got a bit more of a glimpse into the man behind the baseball exploits.

Gehrig’s farewell to baseball is a speech that’s loaded with vulnerability. It’s clear that the ALS diagnosis has devastated Gehrig. What’s also clear is that he’ll miss doing what he has loved doing for his entire life.

And yet, he maintains a positive outlook throughout the speech. Though he now faces a challenge that’s taken away something that he loves, he’s not going to allow it to grind him down.

His bittersweet closing line showcases this sentiment perfectly:

“So, I close in saying that I might have been given a bad break, but I've got an awful lot to live for.”

With this simple line, Gehrig confronts his own vulnerability. He puts it out in the open for all to see before making it clear that his diagnosis would not prevent him from enjoying his life.

That’s one of the reasons why his audience connected with him during his speech. Many had grown to idolise him for his playing abilities. But in showcasing his vulnerability, Gehrig gave the audience a reason to care about him as more than just a player.

You should do the same. Your audience obviously cares about the results that you can deliver. But if that’s all they care about, you’re not going to engage them. By showing them a little more of who you are, as well as what you offer, you encourage the listener to invest in you as a person.

Lesson #2 – Don’t Say More Than You Need to

Gehrig was not a man who felt at home speaking in front of an audience. In fact, most knew him as a fairly quiet individual. Where many of his compatriots courted the media spotlight, Gehrig preferred to just get on with the job at hand.

This discomfort with being in the public eye would have become apparent if Gehrig attempted to give a long-winded speech.

However, he recognised that he had a simple message to deliver. And he took just under 280 words to say what he needed to say. That amounted to little more than a couple of minutes spent in front of the microphone.

As a professional speaker, you’re obviously more comfortable in front of an audience than Gehrig was. However, the shortness of his speech still teaches you a vital lesson.

Do not say more than you need to.

We live in a world where there are hundreds of things vying for our attention. As an influencer, you need to make the maximum impact in the shortest possible time to engage your audience.

That means trimming your speeches so that you don’t spend too long belabouring points. Keep it short and only say what you need to say. Don’t waste your time on the fluff that might make somebody disengage from what you’re saying.

Lesson #3 – Use Questions to Relate to Your Audience

The key thread of luck ran through Gehrig’s speech. We’ll cover that in more detail below. What’s key here is that Gehrig didn’t want his audience to feel sorry for him. He wanted to make it clear that he still had a lot to live for even with his diagnosis.

To do that, he used the power of rhetorical questions to subtly influence his audience. Throughout his short speech, he asked several questions that he used to showcase how much his career had given to him.

Examples include the following:

“Look at these grand men. Which of you wouldn’t consider it the highlight of his career just to associate with them for even one day?”


“Who wouldn’t consider it an honour to have known Jacob Ruppert? Also, the builder of baseball’s greatest empire, Ed Barrow? To have spent six years with that wonderful little fellow, Miller Huggins? Then to have spent the next nine years with that outstanding leader, that smart student of psychology, the best manager in baseball today, Joe McCarthy?”

Here, Gehrig pays homage to the people who helped to shape his career while also relating to his audience.

He uses rhetorical questions to put them in his position and influence them not to feel sorry for him. Instead, he wants them to celebrate his career rather than think of his condition.

Gehrig’s essentially saying that he’s a fan first, which establishes an instant connection with his audience. He also highlights how powerful rhetorical questions can be as a means of subtly influencing an audience’s mood.

Lesson #4 – Repeat Your Key Thread

At Speakers Institute, we often talk about the importance of having a key thread.

In Gehrig’s case, luck was the thread. He made it clear throughout his speech that he considered himself one of the luckiest men alive.

Take his opening line as an example:

“Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about a bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.”

He goes on to talk about the great people he’s met in the game. And he punctuates each passage with the same phrase:

“Sure, I’m lucky.”

Even in closing, he maintains this key thread when speaking about his family.

As mentioned, Gehrig wanted people to remember his career rather than his condition. By establishing the key thread early and revisiting it throughout his speech, he put it at the top of the audience’s mind.

You should do the same with your key thread. Figure out what it is and revisit it repeatedly during your speech. The aim is to drill that main idea into the listener’s mind so that they take it away with them when you stop speaking.

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The Final Word

Lou Gehrig shows us that speakers can take inspiration from so many different people. While he was an athlete who didn’t feel comfortable under the spotlight, Gehrig still gave a passionate retirement speech.

He showcased his vulnerability, only spoke for as long as he needed to, and established a key thread. These are all things that great storyshowers do.

Speakers Institute can help you put the lessons from this speech into practice.

Just follow these steps to give your speaking career a boost:

  • Head to GREENROOM. The #1 Online Hub connecting you to the world’s leading Influencers, Training and Curriculum.

  • For information on dates and times of our live events, just go here: LIVE EVENTS.

Looking for Your Next Speaking Engagement? Here are Four Tips for Getting Yourself Booked

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New speakers often find it difficult to get themselves booked. With these tips, you can improve your chances of finding a new speaking engagement.

There’s no denying that the business of speaking isn’t easy.

You may have the most inspiring story in the world. You may be able to work wonders when you’re on a stage.

But if you’re not getting booked to show your story, your talents don’t get you anywhere. Nobody gets to hear what you have to say and you struggle to generate an income from your speaking.

This is a particular problem for new speakers. You hope to become an influencer in your field but you haven’t found a platform yet. This means you don’t have proof of your speaking abilities, which means event bookers look elsewhere.

They may prefer using established speakers over taking a risk on someone who’s new to the industry. That’s assuming that the bookers have heard of you at all.

Getting proactive will help you. As a new influencer, you need to put in some legwork to show people that you can deliver.

That’s what this article aims to help you with. If you follow these four tips, you improve your chances of getting booked as a paid speaker.

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Tip #1 – Leverage Materials from Free Speaking Engagements

Even as a new speaker, it can feel a little disheartening to have to speak for free. You have a great story to show people and you know that it has value. Speaking for free can feel like you’re giving your story away without seeing any sort of benefit.

However, it’s these free engagements that can play a large part in helping you to find paid bookings.

That’s because they provide you with the opportunity to create materials that you can send out to bookers.

Don’t see free speaking as an insult to your abilities. See it as an opportunity to capture footage of yourself on stage. Bring a camera to the event and have someone film you as you speak.

You can leverage this footage to build a following on social media. That’s what renowned online marketing influencer Jeff Bullas does. Inc. has named him as one of the world’s top 20 digital marketing experts. And he points to LinkedIn as a great social platform where you can leverage your materials.

In an article on his blog, he says:

“If you have one, it’s a great idea to share your speaking reel. This can go right under your summary <on LinkedIn>, so people immediately see you in action. If you don’t have a produced reel, consider embedding two or three full-length videos in this section to entice event organizers to contact you.”

This also gives you something to point to if an event booker questions your abilities.

You can also gather testimonials from people who see you at free events. Speak to members of your audience and ask if they’d be willing to comment on what they gained from watching you. Ask them if you can film the testimonial, which gives you something else to leverage on social media.

The aim of all of this is to show that you’re somebody who has an impact on an audience. That’s what bookers want from their speakers. Use a video of yourself speaking to show what you do. Then, use testimonials from your audience to show the impact that you have.

Tip #2 – Define Your Purpose

Bookers don’t want to hire someone who claims to be able to talk about anything. That just means you’re not an expert. You can’t offer anything of value because you’re not dedicated to a niche or industry.

They want to see that you have a purpose and that you understand your audience.

Your story needs a clear message and you need a defined reason for showing that story to the audience. Anybody can get on stage and tell a story. It takes a special influencer to tie their story into an overarching message to show the audience why they should care.

Susan Tardanico is a speaker and the author of Beating the Imposter Syndrome. She points to purpose as being extremely important.

In an article for Forbes, she says: “Before you start working on your script or presentation, get clear on its purpose. What are you trying to accomplish? What impact do you want to have on your audience? Are you looking to inform? Inspire? Persuade?”

Speaker and personal branding expert Gary V mirrors that sentiment. He says:

“My biggest secret is to talk about what you know you're good at – talk about stuff you know. I don't talk about things I don't know.”

Once you know your purpose, you can identify your audience.

This makes it much easier to talk to bookers. You can see “This is what I speak about and this is who my message appeals to.” From there, you can highlight your credentials and continue building your authority as an expert in your niche.

That’s what a booker’s looking for. They want to know that you can deliver value. With a defined purpose in place, you can show exactly how you do that.

Tip #3 – Ask for the Gig

One of the biggest misconceptions that speakers have is that they need to wait for the call. You put all of your materials out there and sit back. Bookers will find you and come calling with offers.

That’s not how it works, especially when you’re at the beginning of your career. Nobody knows who you are yet so they’re not actively searching for you.

That’s where our advice to be more proactive comes in. Instead of sitting back and waiting, start researching. Get online and find out about as many speaking opportunities as you can. Record the contact information of every booker and get in touch.

Ask them if you can speak.

Sam Jarman is a software developer and speaker. He points to this simple tactic as being one of the best ways to get more speaking engagements.

“What you might not realise that a lot of organisers of internal conferences, meetups, external conferences and more actually want speakers. One of the biggest fears for these people is that no one wants to speak at their conference, and then no one attends.”

He then adds:

“So reach out, say ‘I have an idea for a talk, since I’ve done xyz recently’”.

Sometimes, a booker doesn’t know exactly where to look to find great speakers. And even if they’ve filled up the speaking slots for an event, they always want to find more talent.

Just ask to get booked for the event. Even if you don’t get booked for the event in question, you put yourself on the booker’s radar. They may think of you the next time a similar opportunity arises.

Tip #4 – Put Yourself Where Bookers Search

Of course, bookers do actively search for speakers themselves. While it helps to be proactive, it’s also a good idea to make sure you’re visible to the bookers you don’t even know about yet.

Your social presence is important here. But what you may not know is that many bookers have other avenues for finding talent.

Paul Potratz is a multi-millionaire speaker who’s established himself in the business niche. He points out that you need to put yourself where bookers look if you want to get booked.

“There are a plethora of sites online that work as speaker databases, so organizations looking for speakers can search through by content or topic to find the perfect speakers for their event.”

He points to the National Speakers Association and Speaker Services as good examples of such databases.

Each operates a database that basically acts as a directory of speakers. You can enter your basic details so that your name starts to pop up in searches for your niche.

Potratz also discusses the issue of paid entry into these databases. That’s something that a lot of new speakers may balk at. He says that the free options are good enough when you’re starting out:

“You may be thinking, ‘If I want to take this seriously, shouldn’t I get a better plan?’ But the idea isn’t necessarily to get you hired off of one of these sites, but to have your name pop up in as many different places as possible when a potential client searches your name.”

The point he’s making is that you can use these sites to build awareness. If your name keeps popping up, it’s going to stick in people’s minds. Even if they don’t book you from the initial search, the fact that you keep appearing may pique their interest.

You just need to ensure you have something of value to offer when the booker researches you further.

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The Final Word

All of the influencers cited in this article have built careers as professional speakers. That makes them the perfect people to listen to when you’re trying to find more bookings.

Leverage every scrap of material that you have to help people see how much value you bring to the stage. Make sure bookers can find your name on the platforms that they use to search for speakers.

Establish a defined purpose so you can show your expertise. And finally, get in touch with the decision makers. Sometimes, you just need to put yourself out there to get bookers to pay attention.

This offers a good starting point. However, there’s so much more to building a speaking business that Speakers Institute can help with. We recommend that you do the following:

  • Head to GREENROOM. The #1 Online Hub connecting you to the world’s leading Influencers, Training and Curriculum.

  • For information on dates and times of our live events, just go here: LIVE EVENTS.

Take Advantage of Your Strengths (And Three Other Personal Branding Tips You Can Learn From Tim Ferriss)

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Tim Ferriss made his name as the man who can help people to create a four-hour work week. However, he’s also built a strong personal brand that speakers can learn from.

As an influencer, you put yourself out there every time you head on stage.

You’re the brand for your speaking business. Even as the business scales and develops its own brand, you’re still the figurehead. You’re the person who came up with the ideas and manages the business’ direction.

And you’re the person that audiences see as the face of it all.

That’s why building a personal brand is more important in speaking than perhaps any other industry. The stronger your personal brand, the more likely audiences are to engage with you and your ideas.

But a weak personal brand showcases a lack of authenticity. It gives people no reason to care about the story you’re showing them.

Unfortunately, building a powerful personal brand isn’t an easy task. But there are techniques that you can use to help with that.

Look to the personal branding masters to learn these techniques.

Tim Ferriss is one such master. This article examines his work and what he’s done to build such an amazing personal brand.

Who is Tim Ferriss?

If you haven’t heard of Tim Ferriss, you’ve likely heard of his work. He’s the author of The 4-Hour Work Week. He’s also built on the 4-hour concept to create 4-Hour Body and 4-Hour Chef.

It’s fair to say that “4-Hour” is his business brand.

But Ferriss is also an influential speaker who’s established himself as a brand apart from his work.

And much of his personal brand comes from the story behind the writing of his book.

Ferriss achieved “traditional” success in almost every sense of the word. A graduate of America’s famous Princeton University, he began working for a start-up in the Silicon Valley.

The job didn’t work out as Ferriss found himself dissatisfied with how much he worked for so little pay. He instead decided to create a supplements company called BodyQUICK.

The venture took off and Ferriss soon found himself at the helm of a rapidly-growing company. Unfortunately, this meant more work on his shoulders. The unexpected explosion in growth led to his company becoming bloated. All of the work mounted up until he could barely take it anymore.

During a trip to London, Ferriss had a breakdown.

It was at this low ebb that Ferriss committed to making a change. Dissatisfied with how he ran his business, he decided to streamline everything. Ferriss’ goal was to take as much work as possible out of his own hands. This would leave him with time to pursue his true passions.

From this revelation came The 4-Hour Work Week. And from there, Ferriss built a completely new business based around his own ideas.

Today, he’s a renowned online personality who’s seen as something of a guru for the overworked.

That’s his personal brand at play. Fuelled by the emotional impact of his own story, Ferriss inspires others to cast off the shackles of the 9-to-5 life.

Here are the four personal branding tips that you can learn from him.

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Tip #1 – Play to Your Strengths

When growing a business, it’s often tempting to try to appeal to everyone.

That’s especially true for influencers. Your entire goal is to use your story to appeal to, and inspire action from, your audience.

The problem is that this desire to appeal to everyone can dilute your story. You try to cast as wide a net as possible, which means you stop playing to your strengths. You start speaking on subjects on which you have no authority.

That’s damaging to your personal brand. People with more knowledge than you will notice the mistakes that you make. This makes you appear inauthentic, which makes it much harder for people to engage with you.

Ferriss says that you can avoid this if you play to your strengths. And to do that, you need to identify your niche and stick to it.

In an article written for Fortune, he says:

“If everyone is your market, no one is your market. Particularly with the first versions of your product or service, it’s better to have 1,000 people who love you (and many who hate you) than 100,000 who think you’re kinda, sorta cool.”

The point here is that trying to do everything means you’re just there. Nobody’s really engaging with you. They might think you have a cool idea here or there. But they’re not looking to you as an authority on a subject because you’re trying to talk about everything.

Focusing on a niche allows you to establish yourself as an expert. That’s how you win the diehard supporters who will form the foundation of your personal brand.

You can see this in how Ferriss has expanded his business. Though he’s now talking about cooking and fitness, he still slots them into the “4-Hour” brand. That’s his niche and it’s what people associate with him. Thus, he can build his business because he’s not straying too far from what people know him for.

Tip #2 – Guard Against Digital Character Assassination

Ferriss is also quick to point out that a growing personal brand can put you in the sights of people who don’t support your message.

He points to Wikipedia as a particular important digital platform to police. After all, it’s a platform that anyone can edit.

In an article on his blog, Ferriss says:

Wikipedia is the low-hanging fruit of choice for novice character assassins. It’s amazing PageRank and sheer incoming link volume will put it at the top of Google searches, so be sure to review it for personal and business misinformation and disinformation.”

The misinformation that spread on such platforms can cause serious damage to your personal brand.

Even if you don’t have a Wikipedia page, it’s still important to review what people say about you online. Ideally, you won’t have to fight against a tide of negative sentiment. However, it’s important to take action in cases where somebody does try to spread mistruths about you.

Tip #3 – Create Your Own Category

Other influencers and entrepreneurs can inspire your actions.

However, it’s crucial that you don’t just try to copy other people. Your audience will recognise your attempts to piggyback on somebody else’s success and ideas. This leaves you labelled as a follower, which means you can’t build a strong personal brand.

Ferriss recommends creating your own category instead of trying to compete in one that already exists.

“Being first and then striving for perfection - instead of fighting to be best in a crowded space - is the fastest path to mindshare,” he says.

In Ferriss case, he created the category of “lifestyle design”. This ensured he didn’t get lumped into the hyper-competitive “career advice” category.

Look to your own story to help you create your category. You have something completely unique to offer to an audience. Unlock its power and build your own category based on your experiences and insight.

Tip #4 – Understand When Personal Branding is a Distraction

Ferriss is quick to point to speaking as an industry where personal branding is of huge importance. However, he also recognises that you need to build a business.

Many speakers have a product or service that they’re trying to sell. If that product doesn’t deliver, it doesn’t matter how inspiring your speeches may be.

People will express their dissatisfaction, which damages the business. And as your personal brand is so closely tied to the business, that gets damaged too.

In an interview with Inc., Ferriss points to Apple as an example of how to ensure personal branding doesn’t become a distraction.

“Steve Jobs has a personal brand, but it is Apple's product design that makes it such a valuable company,” says Ferriss.

“He isn't jumping on Foursquare to develop his ‘personal brand.’”

The point he’s making is that you can’t spend all of your time chasing social media followers. While building your personal brand is important, it can’t come at the cost of the product that you’re offering.

You need a balance between your brand and the business to succeed.

If the product isn’t performing, personal branding can become a distraction. Sometimes, you need to draw a line under your efforts to ensure the product matches the story that you show.

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The Final Word

Ferriss is an interesting case when it comes to personal branding. His story of feeling overworked and breaking down is one that many can relate to. This allows him to engage an audience and lends him an authenticity on which he can build a brand.

However, Ferriss is also a business-focused person. He’s quick to point out that personal branding isn’t everything, even for a speaker. Your efforts need to work in tandem with the business that you’re building.

After all, a bad product can undo all of the work that you’ve put into your personal brand.

Ferriss’ tips will help you to strike the balance between business and personal brand.

And Speakers Institute can show you much more about building a speaking business. We recommend that you take the following steps to get started:

  • Head to GREENROOM. The #1 Online Hub connecting you to the world’s leading Influencers, Training and Curriculum.

  • For information on dates and times of our live events, just go here: LIVE EVENTS.

Mandela’s “I Am Prepared to Die” Speech (And What You Can Learn From This Great Storyshower Presenter)

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Nelson Mandela inspired millions during his crusade to end apartheid in South Africa. Here, we look at what made him such a great influencer.

Born to the Madiba clan in the Eastern Cape of South Africa in 1918, Nelson Mandela is one of the most inspiring figures of modern times.

He grew up listening to stories about the brave accomplishments of his ancestors. And these stories inspired him to do what he could to spearhead the fight for freedom for his own people.

In the 1940s, he became politically active as he had a large hand in forming the ANC Youth League (ANCYL). In the 1950s, he was a partner in the first black law firm in South Africa.

It was during this time that his activities started coming to the attention of the lawmakers in South Africa. In 1956, Mandela got arrested on charges of treason. Though he earned an acquittal in 1961, it was clear that his dedication to the freedom fight would land him in more trouble.

Mandela left South Africa in 1962 under an assumed identity after helping to launch Spear of the Nation. He returned towards the end of the year and immediately went on trial for having left South Africa without a permit.

A year later, he faced more legal issues due to his work with Spear of the Nation. Along with 10 others, Mandela faced charges of sabotage during the infamous Rivonia Trial.

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The Speech That Shook a Nation

All that Mandela had done up to this point had the aim of achieving freedom for black South Africans.

Now, he stared the death penalty in the face. Many would have chosen to launch a defence to clear themselves of their charges.

But Mandela took a different approach.

Renowned as an inspiring speaker, it was his voice that had stirred so many into action in the first place.

It was his voice that had brought him to the attention of the ruling parties of South Africa in the 1960s.

And it was his voice that Mandela put to amazing use as he stood at the dock to defend himself. Instead of launching into a legal argument, Mandela gave an impassioned speech that showed everybody what he fought for.

He declared that he would die to see a free and democratic South Africa. And his speech became a turning point for the struggle against apartheid.

He became the figurehead of the cause, despite spending the next 30 years in prison. Just four years after his 1990 release, he became the first democratically-elected President of South Africa.

A bold and talented speaker, Mandela’s most famous speech has a lot to teach to any aspiring influencer. Here are just some of the things that you can learn from him.

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Lesson #1 – Seize Your Opportunity

Prior to the Rivonia Trial, Mandela rarely had the chance to speak in front of a national audience. It was particularly rare for him to have the opportunity to make his arguments in front of his own oppressors.

The Rivonia Trial was his opportunity.

As a lawyer, he could have launched a defence against the charges. But Mandela chose instead to speak. He perhaps felt that his conviction was an inevitability, regardless of what defence he created.

Thus, he aimed to inspire an entire nation to continue the work that he started.

The lesson here is that every speaker should seize any opportunity presented to them. At times, your career can feel like a grind, especially during the early days. You’re constantly on the hunt for opportunities to stand up in front of people and show your story.

When that opportunity finally comes, seize it with both hands. Use it to showcase who you are and what you have to offer to an audience.

Lesson #2 – Always Close Strong

At Speakers Institute, we emphasise the importance of the closing passages of your speech. Your aim is to nail down the key thread of the speech and inspire the audience to take action.

You’ve spent the rest of the speech building an emotional connection.

Now, you want to inspire the audience to do something.

Mandela had this technique mastered way back in the 1960s. And it is in the closing moments of his speech that his defiant air came to the fore:

“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

In his closing passage, Mandela brings all of his key threads together. He shows his audience exactly what he stands for, which is an ideal that many aspire to achieve.

That alone inspires action.

He then injects emotion into the speech. His hope to live to see his ideals achieved builds an instant connection with the audience.

But it’s his final line that resonates the most. Mandela makes it clear that these aren’t shallow beliefs that he holds. He’s staring a possible death sentence in the face at that very moment. And he faces it with dignity and passion.

As an influencer, you’re not going to give speeches under such dire circumstances. However, there’s plenty that you can learn from the way Mandela structures his conclusion.

His first few statements bring his key threads back into focus. He establishes exactly why he’s standing in front of his audience at the moment.

His final lines show his passion. They highlight the emotions that his cause inspires in him and they show just how important the fight for a free Africa was.

Mandela makes the ultimate commitment. He lays his life on the line in the hope of inspiring others. Again, you won’t need to go to such extremes. However, it’s crucial that you fully commit to your ideals if you are to create the authenticity that engages audiences.

Lesson #3 – Temper Emotion with Undeniable Logic

As a lawyer, Mandela was a master of influence. He was able to mix emotion with logic to engage an audience and show that his points actually made sense.

That’s a powerful combination. The emotional punch is what hooks the listener. But it’s the proof that you provide that convinces them of your point.

Take this passage of Mandela’s speech as an example:

“The present Government has always sought to hamper Africans in their search for education. One of their early acts, after coming into power, was to stop subsidies for African school feeding. Many African children who attended schools depended on this supplement to their diet. This was a cruel act.

There is compulsory education for all white children at virtually no cost to their parents, be they rich or poor.”

Here, he’s appealing to the audience’s emotions. He’s showing them the devastating effects of the government’s actions on black South African children. Mandela then drives that point home by comparing this treatment to that of white children.

Mandela didn’t do this to claim that white children didn’t deserve this treatment. He argued for equality in all aspects of life. Mandela wanted the audience to see the disparity and recognise the harm that it caused.

After pulling at this emotional thread, Mandela sought to establish the truth in his words:

“In 1960-61 the per capita Government spending on African students at State-aided schools was estimated at R12.46. In the same years, the per capita spending on white children in the Cape Province (which are the only figures available to me) was R144.57.”

He cites official studies and statistics to prove his points. In doing so, he proves that white children had 12 times the amount of money spent on them than black children.

This mixing of emotion and logic leaves his opponents with no room to argue.

You shouldn’t see your audience as “opponents”. However, you can use this same technique to overcome scepticism and offer the proof that backs your story.

The Final Word

In the 1950s and 1960s, many saw Nelson Mandela as little more than a trouble maker. He fought against an established system that his opposition hoped to maintain.

But it was with his words that he highlighted the depth of South Africa’s inequality. Mandela was a master at engaging emotionally while using logic to support his points. He also had a great passion for his cause, which dripped from every word that he spoke.

This made him an authentic figure for people to latch onto during such troubling times. Ultimately, he didn’t just live to see a democratic South Africa.

He became its first leader.

Power, courage, and eloquence defined Nelson Mandela’s speaking style. The above are just a few of the lessons that you can learn from him as an aspiring influencer.

Speakers Institute can help you to further hone your skills.

We recommend that you do the following:

  • Take me to GREENROOM. The #1 Online Hub connecting you to the world’s leading Influencers, Training, and Curriculum.

  • For information on dates and times of our live events, just go here: LIVE EVENTS.

How Michelle Obama Built Her Personal Brand (And What You Can Learn From Her)

The United States’ former first lady has become a major influencer over the last decade. Here’s how Michelle Obama built such a powerful personal brand.

The United States’ former first lady has become a major influencer over the last decade. Here’s how Michelle Obama built such a powerful personal brand.

The President of the United States arguably holds the most influential office in the world. However, the position of First Lady is also extremely important. In fact, many of those who take up this mantle do great work of their own. They use their position to engage in philanthropy. Plus, the First Lady is well-placed to raise awareness about various social issues.

Of course, a First Lady with a bad reputation is less effective. As such, personal branding is as important for those in this position as it is to a speaker or businessperson.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama recognised this. She worked hard to build and maintain her personal brand while her husband was in office. And now that Barack Obama is no longer President, you could argue that Michelle has the more powerful brand of the two.

That brings us to the key question – what can you learn about personal branding from Michelle Obama?

Before answering that, let’s learn a little more about her.


Who is Michelle Obama?

Simply identifying Michelle Obama as the former First Lady does her a massive disservice. Obama is an accomplished individual who was an influencer long before her husband held America’s highest office.

Born in 1964, Michelle enjoyed a distinguished academic career. She graduated from the acclaimed Princeton University with cum laude honours in 1985. She also studied law at Harvard, from which she graduated in 1988 with a law degree.

Michelle began working with a Chicago-based law firm after leaving college. It was there that she met Barack Obama, whom she married in 1992. Michelle actually served as Barack’s advisor during his time interning for the firm.

It was during this time that Michelle shifted her focus from corporate law to public service. She served in several roles for the city of Chicago, including serving as an advisor to former mayor Richard Daley. Michelle also became involved with Public Allies. This is a non-profit that focuses on teaching leadership skills to young people.

However, it was when she stood by Barack’s side as he was on the campaign trail to become a US senator that Michelle first came to America’s attention.

A few years later, she held the position of First Lady. In this role, Michelle became known as an influencer and a fashion icon. She also shifted her focus to social issues, such as the support of military families and the role of women in the workplace.

It’s in the years following her husband’s presidency that Michelle revealed herself as a master of personal branding. Here are five things she does that every influencer should consider doing.


Technique #1 – She Wrote a Book

At Speakers Institute, we often recommend finding other ways to show your story beyond your speaking. Writing a book is one of the best techniques for several reasons. It allows you to influence people who might not otherwise hear your message. Plus, it allows you to dig deeper into your own story so you understand what you want to communicate to people.

In this sense, writing a book is an extremely effective personal branding tool.

Michelle Obama recognises this. She released her memoir Becoming in 2018. The book details her entire life, from her early family background through to her ascension into public office. It also discusses what she’s done in the years since she stepped down from the First Lady position.

Michelle’s book is a powerful branding tool because it shows people more of her journey. Most who’ve heard of Michelle Obama know her as the former first lady. With this book, she shows that she’s so much more than that. And in doing so, she builds deeper connections with those whom she already influences. Plus, she’s able to reach out to a new audience that perhaps isn’t impressed solely by what she did when she was the First Lady.

Technique #2 – She’s Authentic

If you don’t believe in yourself and your story, you can’t get others to believe in you either. To be an influencer, you need to bleed authenticity.

Your audience can see when you’re faking it. The second they sense a whiff of dishonesty is the moment that they disengage from your brand. You’re not getting those people back because they don’t trust you anymore.

Michelle Obama is such a powerful personal brander because she’s authentic.

As she puts it: “I believe my story, I bring my truth, openness. I hear you and hug you, that’s real. It shines through and it’s not something you can hide.”

She doesn’t hide anything about herself. She’s open and transparent with her story, which means she shares the good and the bad. Because of that, people trust her and are more likely to engage with her.

She adds: “Authenticity means Michelle Obama is the same Michelle Obama you see here and with my girlfriends, walking the dog, being First Lady, it is the same person, and it’s a lot easier because I don’t have to pretend.”

So don’t be something that you think you should be. Instead, be authentically you. Build your personal brand on the values and qualities that make you who you are.

Technique #3 – She’s an Excellent Marketer

Michelle Obama does so many things to widen her appeal. At various points, she’s used Snapchat to speak to a younger audience. She’s written books, including her biography and a book about gardening. She even appeared on Carpool Karaoke with James Corden.

People actually got to see a former First Lady sing along to the likes of Stevie Wonder and Missy Elliot.

All of this shows that Michelle’s capable of having fun and is just a regular person. And as cynical as it may sound, this is all effective marketing for her brand.

Michelle Obama is the sort of person that you want to spend time with. She recognises this as an important aspect of her brand and plays up to it in the public eye. In doing so, she’s marketing the idea of Michelle as a normal person. People connect with that persona, which allows her to engage them in other ways.

Technique #4 – She Uses Her Interests to Draw Attention to Issues

Michelle Obama’s self-marketing has a purpose that goes beyond building her personal brand. She also uses it to draw attention to important issues.

Take the book she wrote about gardening as an example. On the surface, the book seems like a way to expand her audience and appeal to gardeners.

However, reading the book shows that it has a deeper message. Michelle has long been a campaigner for raising awareness about the importance of good nutrition. In her gardening book, she discusses planting vegetables and talks at length about why they’re important in a healthy diet.

She uses her interest in gardening to draw attention to a deeper social issue.

The key here is that Michelle has built depth into her personal brand. A book that, on the surface, only appeals to gardeners actually reveals a deeper purpose. She’s able to influence those who buy the book to think about deeper social issues. And in doing so, she positions herself as an authority on those issues.

So think about the other messages buried within your message. Use them to add depth to your personal brand, thus providing people with more reasons to engage with you.

Technique #5 – She’s Passionate About Her Purpose

Michelle has long been an advocate for the advancement of women. She has a great passion for this cause. She also believes that this cause has come under direct attack in recent years.

In one of her final speeches as First Lady, Michelle confronted these attacks directly:

“I listen to all of this and I feel it so personally, and I’m sure that many of you do too, particularly the women.

“The shameful comments about our bodies. The disrespect of our ambitions and intellect. The belief that you can do anything you want to a woman. It is cruel. It’s frightening. And the truth is, it hurts.”

Here, Michelle does nothing to hide her anger, contempt, and pain. Instead, she displays a searing passion for one of the causes that are closest to her heart.

It’s this passion that encourages so many to connect with her on an emotional level. She’s showing people how attacks on women hurt even those in positions of high standing. In that sense, she relates her message to everyday people. And she inspires and influences with her passion.

The Final Word

It’s unfair to say that Michelle Obama parlayed her position as First Lady into a powerful brand. The truth is that those eight years are only a small part of her story.

She connects with people because she fights for causes that she truly believes in. Michelle is authentic and passionate. She also understands how to get her message out to as wide an audience as possible. Plus, she has the ability to add depth to her story by linking her interests to her passion.

Using these techniques, you too can build a powerful personal brand. And Speakers Institute is here to help you every step of the way. We recommend that you do the following if you want to start developing your brand:

  • Head to the GREENROOM. The #1OnlineHub connecting you to the world’s leading Influencers, Training and Curriculum.

  • Join SPEAKERS TRIBE CONFERENCE. The Ultimate Annual event for Influencers globally.  (Apply to Speak)

  • Attend MASTERING STORYSHOWING FOR INFLUENCE AND AUTHORITY. This is a free event where you learn from 7 times International Best Seller and Professional Storyteller, Sam Cawthorn, about his secrets and techniques.

On Women’s Right to Vote: How Susan B. Anthony’s Famous Speech Changed the World

Susan B. Anthony is one of the most important figures in recent history. Here’s how her most famous speech influenced the women’s rights movement and what you can learn from it.

Susan B. Anthony is one of the most important figures in recent history. Here’s how her most famous speech influenced the women’s rights movement and what you can learn from it.

Looking through the lens of today, it’s absolutely shocking to think about the state of women’s rights a mere 150 years ago. We’re not too far removed from the days when women couldn’t vote and were almost seen as second-class citizens.

Thankfully, we’ve come a long way since those dark days. Women’s rights have changed enormously over the last century and a half.

Still, it’s important to look back and commend the efforts of the women who fought the battles that influenced entire cultures. And when we do that, there are few more prominent names than Susan B. Anthony.

Anthony was a prominent figure in the women’s rights movement in the United States in the late 1800s. She was also an influencer whose speaking technique offers plenty of lessons that today’s storyshowers can take forward.

We’ll look at those lessons in a moment. But first, let’s talk about just how important Susan B. Anthony was.


Who Was Susan B. Anthony?

Born in 1820, Susan B. Anthony grew up in a politically active family. From a young age, she watched her parents fight to end slavery as part of the abolitionist movement. She later grew up to become a part of the Temperance Movement. This group campaigned to limit the supply and distribution of alcohol.

It was during her affiliation with this group that Anthony encountered discrimination due to her gender. She was not allowed to speak at a Temperance Movement convention because she was a woman.

She realised that women would never achieve the respect they deserved in politics if they didn’t have the right to vote.

This revelation led to her co-founding the National Woman Suffrage Association. Alongside Elizabeth Cady Stanton, she campaigned for the vote. Anthony began speaking wherever she could to gain supporters. She also engaged in several acts of rebellion that put her at odds with the laws of the time.

In 1920, the United States finally added the Nineteenth Amendment to its constitution. This gave women the right to vote. Unfortunately, Anthony had passed away 14 years prior and so never got to see her dream come true.

Nevertheless, she played a huge role in the suffrage movement. And with On Women’s Right to Vote, she gave one of the movement’s most influential speeches.

Anthony gave her speech following her arrest for casting an illegal vote in the 1872 presidential election. Here are four reasons why it was so effective.

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Reason #1 – She Kept it Short

At Speakers Institute, we often show people the importance of keeping your speech short. As an influencer, you want your message to stick in the minds of your audience members. Going on a long-winded tirade isn’t going to help you do that.

People have limited attention spans and they want you to get to the point as quickly as possible. That’s more evident in the modern day. TED Talks last about 15-20 minutes and many speakers keep their stories short.

This wasn’t so much the case during Anthony’s day. Still, with On Women’s Right to Vote, she kept things short and to the point.

Anthony’s speech clocked in at just over 500 words. That meant that it took just a couple of minutes for her to hit her key threads and show her story.

She also used brevity and concise delivery during several portions of her speech:

“To them this government has no just powers derived from the consent of the governed. To them this government is not a democracy. It is not a republic.”

These short and sharp sentences get straight to the point and allow for rapid-fire delivery.

Keeping her speech short made its key threads more memorable. It also made them easier to digest and ensured she built a connection with her audience quickly.

Reason #2 – The Speech Had Passion

Politicians are well-versed in keeping emotion out of their speeches. Despite her passion for politics, Anthony had no such disposition. She approached her speech with the same passion and fire with which she approached all of her suffrage efforts.

Anthony attacked her oppressors with ferocity and made her anger clear throughout the speech. Take this passage as an example:

“It is an odious aristocracy; a hateful oligarchy of sex; the most hateful aristocracy ever established on the face of the globe; an oligarchy of wealth, where the rich govern the poor.”

This is a rare moment where attacking the listener is actually an effective technique. Many of those who heard Anthony speak that day were the very people that she stood against. Using words such as “odious” and “hateful” cast those people as the villains of the piece.

This passion served as a call to arms for the women who heard the speech. It also influenced many of the men who were the indirect subjects of Anthony’s attack. Using her anger, Anthony put a mirror in front of the people who oppressed her based on gender. In doing so, she forced them to confront some uncomfortable truths about the roles they played in holding women back in society.

Emotion is the key to influencing people. It’s crucial in connecting with an audience and it’s important that you don’t hide behind a mask when speaking. Anthony used emotion and passion to drive her key threads home. Her righteous vitriol ensures her speech resonated with everyone who heard it.

Reason #3 – Anthony Was Direct

Anthony made no efforts to hide from the fight that she found herself in. Her speech came at a time when she’d suffered arrest for doing something that every man in the country had a right to do.

Her point was simple. Women should have the same right to vote that men do. Because they didn’t, they were not adequately represented in the American government.

Anthony challenged her opponents with almost every word of her speech. Nowhere is that more evident than when she gives the reasons why the suffrage movement is so important.

“It was we, the people; not we, the white male citizens; nor yet we, the male citizens; but we, the whole people, who formed the Union. And we formed it, not to give the blessings of liberty, but to secure them; not to the half of ourselves and the half of our posterity, but to the whole people - women as well as men.”

Here, Antony directly attacks the concept of “liberty” and how it only applied to a small portion of the population in 1872. She makes a clear point – it’s “we, the people”, not just “we, the men.”

Anthony continues by further attacking the false “liberty” that women had during the time period.

“And it is a downright mockery to talk to women of their enjoyment of the blessings of liberty while they are denied the use of the only means of securing them provided by this democratic-republican government - the ballot.”

Here, Anthony makes the point that it’s unconstitutional to deny women the right to vote. She is direct in pointing out the ridiculousness of claiming that women have liberty when they can’t vote.

Again, this shows how Anthony refused to hide behind false pretences. She made no effort to “negotiate” with her oppressors. She slammed them with the wrongness of their actions.

Reason #4 – She Used Logic As Well as Passion

If Anthony’s speech was nothing but an attack, it may not have influenced anybody. People do not like to feel as though you’re berating them. Men, in particular, may have felt a temptation to ignore Anthony’s words because of her directness and passionate attack.

Anthony recognised this, which is why she tempered her speech with a simple rhetorical question.

“Are women persons?”

Prior to this question, she gave the definition of a United States citizen:

“Webster, Worcester, and Bouvier all define a citizen to be a person in the United States, entitled to vote and hold office.”

This is an extremely clever technique. Anthony uses several respected sources before asking a question that nobody could answer “no” to.

She goes on to talk about how a woman’s status as a person makes her a citizen. And as a citizen, she should have the right to vote.

Anthony uses this simple logic to make the audience think. She again highlights the injustice of the situation. Only this time, she does it in a way that encourages those listening to change their thinking.

The Final Word

Unfortunately, Susan B. Anthony didn’t live to see women attain the right to vote. But her rebellious nature and impassioned speaking played huge roles in the suffrage movement. Anthony influenced an entire generation of people and inspired them to stand up against an unjust system.

Her passion made her one of the most effective storyshowers of her era. As importantly, her ability to temper her passion with logic and evidence made it difficult for others to argue against her.

All influencers can look to Susan B. Anthony to help them to make more powerful speeches.

And with Speakers Institute, you can learn how to put these techniques into practice. We encourage everyone reading this to do the following:

  • Head to the GREENROOM. The #1OnlineHub connecting you to the world’s leading Influencers, Training and Curriculum.

  • Join SPEAKERS TRIBE CONFERENCE. The Ultimate Annual event for Influencers globally.  (Apply to Speak)

  • Attend MASTERING STORYSHOWING FOR INFLUENCE AND AUTHORITY. This is a free event where you learn from 7 times International Best Seller and Professional Storyteller, Sam Cawthorn, about his secrets and techniques.

Should You Offer Handouts At Your Events? (And Two Other Ways to Turn Your Next Speaking Gig into a Networking Opportunity)


The business of being an influencer involves getting your name out there. Networking is the key to this endeavour. Here are two ways to network at your next speaking engagement.

No matter what business you work in, networking is a crucial part of your success. Building solid relationships with the right people helps you to establish trust. That trust opens the door to opportunities.

As a professional speaker, your network plays a key role in helping you to find engagements. The people you meet may open your eyes to events that you weren’t aware of. They can also help you to meet new clients for your programs.

Building that network is one of the major difficulties that budding influencers have to face. You have to get people to notice you before they’ll start trusting you.

The good news is that your next speaking engagement provides the perfect networking opportunity. You just need to know about the steps you have to take when you’re not on stage that will get people to connect with you.

Here are three techniques for you to try at your next engagement.

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Technique #1 – Offer Handouts at Events

In an ideal world, your speech will be enough to influence people and make them want to talk to you.

But that’s not always the case. When you’re speaking at large conferences, you’re one of many people who’ll share their stories during the event. That’s a lot of information for attendees to take in. Over the course of a weekend, it’s possible for speeches to start blending into one.

It’s just human nature. A little information overload can affect how well people remember your speech.

That’s where handouts come in.

Influencers use their handouts to solidify the key threads of the speeches. The key here is that you’re not trying to give the whole speech to the recipient. That’s just going to create a bulky package that no-one wants to read. Plus it’ll cost you money.

Instead, highlight the key threads of the speech and provide your contact information. A single-page handout is more than enough for most occasions. Pop the handouts on the audience’s chairs before you head onto the stage.

How does this work as a networking tool?

When the recipients look back on the event, they can use your handout to refresh their memories about your speech. That handout also has your contact information, which means they can get in touch after the fact. It’s also much more effective than a business card, which is easy to misplace.

Technique #2 – Show Up Early

You have a ton of different tasks on your plate. When it comes to your speaking engagements, it’s possible that you’ve had to travel a fair amount to get to the conference.

The temptation is to just relax in your hotel room until it’s time to set up for your speech.

But if you do that, you’re missing out on a prime networking opportunity.

Corporate communication influencer Dave Delaney says that turning up early is crucial.

Delaney is the founder of Networking for Nice People and is a successful author and speaker in his own right.

He says: “Try to get to the conference early and stand near the registration table, entrance, or food area. These are the places where people congregate.

When you first arrive, solo attendees will especially be seeking a friendly connection. Don’t let them become wallflowers.”

That last tip is especially useful. There are plenty of people who’ll turn up to speaking engagements on their own. They’re often looking for social connections just to help them feel more comfortable. Rock up and start a conversation with them. Get to know them a little and you can start influencing them. Softly encourage these people to come to see you speak while you build a relationship.

Delaney also points out that turning up early gives you the chance to talk to event sponsors. They’re often setting up during the beginning of the conference. In fact, doing this reaped huge benefits for Delaney.

“Also, consider approaching sponsors and introducing yourself,” he says. “A casual conversation with a conference sponsor led to my book deal.”

Showing up early helped Dave Delaney secure a book deal that put money in his pocket. That book also became a networking tool in its own right.

He may have missed this massive opportunity if he’d just stayed in his hotel room.

Technique #3 – Break the “Random Stranger” Barrier

You feel confident as an influencer when you’re on stage. The spotlight’s on you and you have a captive audience. You know exactly what story you want to show people and the speech goes off without a hitch.

For many influencers, that’s the easy part.

The difficult part comes in trying to start conversations with random strangers when you're not on stage. That’s something you’re going to have to get comfortable with if you’re to network effectively at your next speaking engagement.

Heather White is a networking expert and keynote speaker. During her 2013 TEDx talk, she highlights four “cues” that you can use to spark a conversation. You can use these cues to get past that awkward introductory phase and practice meeting new people.

Heather’s four cues are as follows:

Cue #1 – The Stairway Shuffle

If you attend someone else’s speech (and you should at larger conferences), you’re going to get caught in the “stairway shuffle”. This is the period after the speech where everyone’s filing out of the room. Heather says that you shouldn’t just look down and try to get out as soon as possible.

Instead, engage someone in conversation.

Talk about the ideas the speaker shared while they’re still fresh in your mind. From there, you can let the other person know that you’re scheduled to speak too. You’ve just built a connection and encouraged someone to watch you speak. Ideally, they’ll bring a few friends along too.

Cue #2 – The Loos

This one is more specifically for the ladies.

At some point during the event, you’re going to find yourself queueing for the loo. Heather says that most people just stand awkwardly and in complete silence.

Instead of doing that, open your body up so that you can catch the eye of the person standing behind you. Flash a smile and spark up a conversation.

Heather says that using inviting body language can help you get past the awkwardness of starting a conversation. From there, you can talk about what you do.

Cue #3 – The Fred Way

Heather says that her dad taught her this one.

If there’s a buffet at the event, you have a prime opportunity to meet new people. Heather’s dad used to grab several plates and pass them down the queue behind him. This allowed him to trigger a nice quick conversation with the person next to him. It also gave him an exit from the conversation as he could wander off after getting his food.

Heather calls this “The Fred Way” after her father. It’s a nice and quick way to spark a conversation and provide yourself with the opportunity to talk briefly about what you can offer.

Cue #4 – The Sit Down

The end of someone else’s speech isn’t the only opportunity you have to break the random stranger barrier.

You can also use the beginning of the speech. Once you’ve sat down, just quickly introduce yourself to the person next to you. Talk about why you’re both interested in the speaker who’s about to come on stage. Then, work your way towards gently telling them that you’re going to speak later on.

These four clever cues help you to break through the awkwardness of starting a conversation. They show you how to use more open body language to invite people into conversations. Plus, using other speakers’ stories gives you the chance to hit on mutual interest points. This allows you to segue into talking about how you may offer something of interest too.

Bonus Tip – The Three Questions

Heather concludes her speech by talking about the three questions you can ask to start the conversation.

She boils them down to the following:

  1. What do you do? This is the standard conversation starter. It’s the two questions afterwards that will help you spark a proper conversation.

  2. What’s happening right now? That’s where introducing yourself before and after watching another influencer comes in. That speaker’s story gives your conversation a great starting point.

  3. What’s happening next? Talk about the other influencers you want to see and mention that you’ll be on stage later too.

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The Final Word

These three techniques will help you to turn your next speaking engagement into a networking opportunity.

Offer handouts to complement the story you show on stage. This will reinforce your message and give people something to refer back to.

Show up early so you can start conversations, drum up interest, and meet sponsors.

And finally, use Heather White’s four cues to get past the awkwardness of talking to random strangers. Heather’s advice is especially useful at large conferences where people see several influencers over the course of a weekend.

Of course, there’s plenty more that you can do to network. And Speakers Institute is here to help. We encourage you to do the following:

  • Head to the GREENROOM. The #1OnlineHub connecting you to the world’s leading Influencers, Training and Curriculum.

  • Join SPEAKERS TRIBE CONFERENCE. The Ultimate Annual event for Influencers globally.  (Apply to Speak)

  • Attend MASTERING STORYSHOWING FOR INFLUENCE AND AUTHORITY. This is a free event where you learn from 7 times International Best Seller and Professional Storyteller, Sam Cawthorn, about his secrets and techniques.

Social Media and Speaking: How to Use the Web to Your Advantage


The web is one of the most powerful tools at any influencer’s disposal. And in social media, you have a platform that can help you reach a wider audience. Here’s how to use it effectively.

Every influencer wants to expand their audience. But you can only rely so much on your speaking, especially in the early stages of your career. If you get to show your story to a hundred people at a time, you’re doing well.

Still, that’s not a huge number of people. You want to speak to more people, which means you need to broaden your horizons.

Using social media is the key.

Why? Just think about this:

  • Facebook has over 1 billion active users from around the world.

  • 100 million people use Instagram every single month.

  • LinkedIn has 500 million users.

That all amounts to an enormous audience that you’re not reaching out to if you don’t have an effective social media strategy.

As an influencer, you can use social media to build your reputation and reach new people. Ultimately, that leads to more speaking engagements and greater success.

You just need to know how.

Here are four tips for leveraging social media to benefit your speaking career.


Tip #1 – Figure Out Your Target Audience

Here’s a simple fact that every influencer has to accept.

Your message isn’t going to appeal to everyone. Your job is to figure out what types of people want to hear your story. From there, you can start marketing towards those people.

Your social media accounts offer plenty of metrics to help you with this. For example, Facebook users can check who likes and shares their posts to get a basic idea about their target audience. Running ads on the platform provides even more details about who engages with your messages.

Facebook also allows you to build custom audiences, from which you can build lookalike audiences.

Here’s an example of how this works. A company called Camp and Furnace wanted to use Facebook to get more people to visit their events. They’d used social media ads before. But they hadn’t really targeted them towards a specific audience.

Then, they started using Facebook’s Custom Audiences tool.

Facebook allows you to create a custom audience when somebody shares their information with you. This sharing includes visits to your website and engaging with your social content. You can then directly appeal to these people with ads.

Camp and Furnace took it a step further. They also used the Lookalike tool to extract key data from their custom ad campaigns. This tool helps you identify the traits and interests that people who are most likely to engage with your content tend to share.

From there, you can identify your target audience.

Upon identifying their target audience, Camp and Furnace increased their ticket sales 27 times over. This resulted in a 20 times improvement in revenue.

All of that came from using social media to figure out who their marketing efforts should target. Best of all, you can carry this information through to your other social media and marketing campaigns

Tip #2 – Reach Out to People Directly

Social media offers you the chance to interact with your audience directly. There are so many ways that you can take advantage of this.

From a customer service perspective, you can use social media to answer direct queries from clients. For example, people may have questions about one of your upcoming speaking engagements. Providing a direct response shows that you care about having that audience member at the engagement.

Better yet, these queries may even provide you with ideas for other content to share. You can use these ideas to become a stronger authority in your niche.

You can also use social media to quiz your audience and encourage them to interact with you. Kellogg’s did this with their “Tweet What You Eat” campaign. This initiative challenged Kellogg’s customers to share pictures of the foods that they eat.

This encouraged the brand’s audience to share content and interact with them. Plus, it provided a ton of useful data that Kellogg could use to inform future marketing campaigns.

You could do something similar. Encourage past audience members to share pictures and takeaways from your speaking engagements. Hold contests and surveys to keep your followers engaged. Anything that makes your followers feel like part of your story keeps people interested.

Using social media to interact with followers allows you to answer key questions and strengthen engagement. It’s a crucial element of any personal branding strategy. Plus, this heightened engagement shows others that you’re an influencer. This makes them more likely to follow you, which means you can show your story to a larger audience.

Tip #3 – Post Before and After Your Speeches

Social media is a great tool for publicising your engagements. This stretches beyond sending out ads. You should talk about the event almost up to the moment that you go on stage. Plus, you should share your own feedback and takeaways from your speech once it’s done.

This is a technique that influencer and corporate expert Jeffrey Hayzlett uses to great effect. As a radio and television host, he’s amassed a large following on social media. He’s constantly keeping those followers up to date on his work as a speaker.

Jeffrey tweets before taking the stage. And after he’s done, he’ll share photos and talk about his favourite parts of his speech. Often, he’ll mix in a little bit about one of his key threads to influence people into checking him out.

There are several reasons why this is a good technique. First, you’re offering constant reminders to your audience that you’re still active. That can encourage followers to research your other speaking engagements. Plus, it’s an easy way to show bookers that you’re available without having to contact them directly.

Secondly, posting right after speaking gives you the chance to continue the conversation while your speech is still fresh. You can encourage attendees to share their own experiences while they’re still excited about having seen you. This enthusiasm bleeds into their posts and gets others excited about coming to see you speak.

Thirdly, you’re giving your followers just the slightest taste of what you have to offer. That little bit of intrigue that you create may be all that you need to convince someone to come to your next event.

Here’s the best part.

This is all shareable content. As well as appealing to your followers, you’re providing them with things to share with their own followers. Again, that means you can broaden your horizons and appeal to a new audience.

Tip #4 – Build Social Into Your Speaking

You may have an awesome social media strategy that you focus on when you’re off stage. But you’re still missing a few clever tricks that can help you along. Your focus on social doesn’t stop once you head out on stage. In fact, your speaking allows you to build an even more powerful social media presence.

Marketer and speaker Bob Cargill goes into more detail in an article published by the American Marketing Association. He says that you can do the following to give your social campaigns a boost while on stage:

  • Don’t discourage people from whipping their phones out and taking photos while you’re speaking. Yes, it can feel a little rude to have people looking at their phones rather than you. But people also want to share what they’re doing at all times. Letting people do that as you speak means they’re sharing their impressions of you with their followers. That’s going to get you in front of even more people.

  • Make it easy to find you. If you’re using slides, make sure you incorporate your social media profiles into them. You may also have banners, business cards, and handouts. All of these should tell people about your social media profiles.

  • You want to build a buzz around what you’re doing. Create a catchy and shareable hashtag for the event that gives people something quick and easy to share. Again, put this hashtag on marketing material and make it a prominent part of your speech.

  • Move around onstage. People love to take photos and share them. By moving around, you’re ensuring that people can get some good shots to share. Plus, you’re more engaging when you use your body as you speak.

The key point here is that social media is ever-present in most people’s lives. Cargill shows us that you can’t ignore it when you’re on stage.


The Final Word

A good social media strategy helps you to reinforce your personal brand and build your influence. Use it to figure out your target audience so you know who your message resonates with.

Communicate with people directly and ask questions. Keep people engaged by posting a good mix of useful content and personal interactions.

Finally, use social media to create a buzz around your speaking. Post before and after your engagements to keep people talking about them. And try to make social media a key part of your presentation.

It’s all about building your reputation and creating a business around your storyshowing.

Speakers Institute can help you do just that. Now that you have this advice, try doing the following:

  • Head to the GREENROOM. The #1OnlineHub connecting you to the world’s leading Influencers, Training and Curriculum.

  • Join SPEAKERS TRIBE CONFERENCE. The Ultimate Annual event for Influencers globally.  (Apply to Speak)

  • Attend MASTERING STORYSHOWING FOR INFLUENCE AND AUTHORITY. This is a free event where you learn from 7 times International Best Seller and Professional Storyteller, Sam Cawthorn, about his secrets and techniques.

Three Ways that Elon Musk Built his Personal Brand (And Three Musk Mistakes That You Must Learn From)


When you think of the tech sector, you think of Elon Musk. He’s created such a powerful personal brand that it overshadows his own companies. Here’s what you can learn from the methods (and mistakes) in Musk’s brand-building quest.

In Elon Musk, you have an entrepreneur who’s bigger than his companies. Musk founded the likes of Tesla and SpaceX with a vision of catapulting the human race forward. And in doing so, he’s created a powerful personal brand.

He’s the man you think of when you hear those company’s names. In fact, his brand eclipses those of his companies. Musk is one of the go-to guys when you think about modern entrepreneurs.

The point is that he’s done an amazing job of crafting his own brand that’s completely separate from those of his companies.

That’s something that you should aspire to as a speaker. While you want to build a business, you also want your audience to connect to you. You want people to care about your story.

Musk’s achieved just that. Here, we look at how he managed it, as well as examining some of the missteps he’s made along the way.

Tip #1 – Show Your Story With Your Brand

What do you think Musk aims to do with Tesla?

He’s looking to completely transform the automotive industry. With this company, he wants to move us away from the fossil fuel-driven vehicles of today. Through vehicles powered by electricity, he aims to create a brighter future.

That’s all part of his story as much as it is Tesla’s vision. Musk’s great ambition is to move humanity forward in new directions. Tesla is essentially one of the vehicles that he’s using to achieve that goal.

As a result, he’s showing you his personal story through his company brand. The vision of his company is a direct result of the personal goals that he has.

There’s an amazing by-product to this technique. It creates an instant connection between the business brand and Musk’s personal brand. When you hear about Tesla, you instantly understand Musk’s story.

Better yet, he commits to building his brand through Tesla. Musk has a reputation for being a visionary, but he’s also known for his accountability.

When a Tesla car caught fire in 2013, Musk didn’t hide away from the issue. He responded with a blog post that immediately tackled it.

In doing that, he showed people that he’s accountable for what his companies do. In fact, he’s so accountable that he takes the time to respond to such issues personally.

That’s all part of his story too. While he wants to pull humanity forward, he also knows that he needs checks and balances. Such direct responses show that he’s engaging his audience. In doing so, he makes his personal brand more powerful. His commitment to accountability gives people a reason to trust him even when things do go wrong.

That trust creates a strong connection between Musk and his audience. It’s a crucial part of the brand he’s built and the story that he’s showing.

Tip #2 – Make Your Audience a Part of Your Story

With all that Musk has achieved, you’d expect him to cast himself as the hero of his story. He’s the visionary that’s dragging the rest of us forward. Follow him to the Promised Land.

If he represented himself that way, his personal brand would go up in flames. People don’t connect to those who lord over them. They grow to resent them, which means they don’t buy into the person.

Musk’s a visionary, but he knows how important it is that his audience participates in that vision. That’s why he makes them a part of his story.

Think about what happens when someone buys a Tesla vehicle. They’re attracted to the story behind the brand. Musk’s probably played a large part in influencing the purchasing decision.

When that purchase gets made, the customer instantly becomes a part of Musk’s story. They’re taking on all of these amazing qualities, such as being future-focused and environmentally conscious. They’re joining Musk on his quest to move humanity forward. And in doing so, they become the heroes of their own stories.

Musk’s just the guide on the journey. It’s the customer who’s the hero. They get to show people their own values and story through the action that Musk inspires them to take.

A personal brand isn’t about making sales. It’s about connecting with people and getting them to engage with your vision. Your story becomes a part of their story, and vice versa. And when that happens, your personal brand becomes even more powerful.

Tip #3 – Commit to Your Brand as You do to Your Work

Musk’s work ethic borders on legendary. He’s known for regularly working 80+ hours per work to ensure all of his businesses succeed.

Incidentally, that work ethic plays into his personal branding. People see how hard he works to achieve his vision and instantly connect. He’s not a faceless CEO. He’s in the trenches with his people.

But that’s not what this point focuses on. Instead, it’s about making your personal brand as much of a focus of your work as your business.

Musk has two massive businesses. It wouldn’t surprise anyone if he split his working hours between them and didn’t do anything else.

But that’s not the case, he’s active all over social media and interacting with people on a regular basis. He’s creating amazing content and attending events. Musk gets himself out there and shows people what he’s doing.

These efforts may benefit his business brands. But they’re more important for building his personal brand. He’s putting information out there and actively working on how he wants people to perceive him.

Take his direct interactions with Tesla customers as an example. Those aren’t about building the Tesla brand. These interactions help him to build trust and engage his audience. In doing that, he’s improving people’s perception of him and guiding it to where he wants it to be.

Here’s the point.

Your brand isn’t something that just appears as a result of your work in your business. It’s something that you have to actively craft and maintain.

That means you have to put the hours into building it.

Elon Musk’s Big Mistakes

For all of the success that Musk has enjoyed while building his personal brand, he’s also an example of how mistakes can derail things.

In 2018, a team of young Thai footballers got trapped in a labyrinthine cave system in Thailand. Water blocked their escape route and the rescue effort gained international publicity.

Musk offered his services in the form of a submarine that he believed could save the children. Unfortunately, the practicalities of the situation made the sub unusable. Instead, a team of divers rescued the children without Musk’s help.

Musk’s response did massive damage to his personal brand. He used Twitter to make serious allegations against one of the divers.

He’ll need to recover from that situation. But here’s what you can learn from Musk’s big mistake.

Tip #1 – Don’t Attack Others

Your personal brand is all about you. It’s not about your competitors or people that you may have a dislike for.

As soon as you start attacking other people, you’re showing a side to your personality that people haven’t seen before. In Musk’s case, it was a side that a lot of people didn’t like.

Focus on you instead of other people.

Tip #2 – Accept When You’re Not the Hero

Ironically, Musk’s biggest mistake in this situation was his desire to cast himself as the hero.

That’s something he’d avoided well up until this point. But his attack on the divers smacked of jealousy that they’d received the plaudits instead of him.

Musk tried to make himself the hero of a story and it backfired. A better response would have been to congratulate the divers on their efforts and move on. He’d have done no damage to his brand if he’d just overcome his desire to be the hero.

Tip #3 – Remember That Emotions Count

When you have a personal brand, you become an influencer. People connect to you on an emotional level. That means your emotions can influence theirs.

Musk was clearly upset about the way things played out with the Thai rescue operation. Unfortunately, his response was to vent those emotions all over social media.

In those moments, he made the situation all about him in a negative way. He also stirred up negative emotions among his audience. Some rebuked him whereas others joined in the unwarranted criticism he levied against the diver.

Building a personal brand is all about creating emotional connections between you and your audience. Always consider the emotional impact of your message before you show it to the world.

The Final Word

By and large, Elon Musk offers a stellar example of how to build an amazing personal brand.

But his actions in 2018 highlight some of the mistakes that you can make along the way. Learn from the good and the bad and you’ll have a better chance of creating an amazing personal brand.

Speakers Institute can help you to put all of this into practice. We recommend that you do the following:

  • Take me to GREENROOM. The #onlineHub connecting you to the world’s leading Influencers, Training and Curriculum.

  • Join SPEAKERS TRIBE CONFERENCE. The Ultimate Annual event for Influencers globally.  (Apply to Speak)

  • Attend MASTERING STORYSHOWING FOR INFLUENCE AND AUTHORITYlast event. A free event, learning from 7 times International Best Seller and Professional Storyteller, Sam Cawthorn, learning his secrets and techniques.

7 Surprising Reasons Why John F Kennedy is One of History’s Greatest Storyshowers


JFK is world-renowned as one of the greatest leaders in American history. Part of his strength came from his ability to influence others by showing his story.

In the annals of American history, there are few presidents as revered as John F. Kennedy (JFK). Though his time in power was brief, with a tragedy bringing his life to an end, he inspired millions of people.

Many look to JFK as one of the greatest orators of all time. His speeches still inspire people to this day. Many look to them for inspiration when attempting to craft their own speeches. Everything from the way he spoke through to how he carried himself has been the subject of intense study.

JFK built this reputation because he was more than just a storyteller. JFK was a storyshower who had the power to unlock the emotion behind his words so that he could inspire others.

JFK’s inaugural address offers up a great example of the many techniques that he used to show his story. Here, we’re going to take a look at a few snippets of that address to unveil some of the reasons why JFK has his reputation. We’ll also look at some of the other reasons why JFK was such a great storyshower.

Reason #1 – He Used Contrasts to Great Effect

Contrasting two opposing viewpoints can do a great deal to inspire emotion in your audience. The contrast forces the listener to truly think about what you’re saying. Instead of telling them something, you’re showing them two alternatives. From there, they have to consider your words more closely to understand the meaning behind them.

JFK used contrasts to great effect throughout his inaugural address. However, no instance was more powerful than one of the most famous lines from the speech:

“Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”

In this brief moment, JFK introduced a contrast that directly challenged his audience’s thought process. He forced them to stand up and take notice, as this was a speech that could change how they thought about life.

Contrasts also mirror the way that the human mind works. Whenever you think of a situation or an action, your mind considers alternatives. For example, you may think of the “best” and “worst” case outcomes from an action.

By using contrasts to his advantage, JFK’s speeches encouraged people to think deeply about his words.


Reason #2 – He Made Excellent Use of Tone

Vocal tone plays a huge role in how people take your words in. JFK was a master of matching his tone to the message that he hoped to deliver.

Again, we come back to the famous “Ask not…” line.

When listening to JFK’s delivery, you will note that JFK says “Ask not” with much more force that the rest of the statement. He uses a higher frequency to capture the listener’s attention before delivering the message that he wants to influence them with.

This is just a small example of how JFK used tone to show his story. At various points during his inaugural speech, you will notice him vary between speaking softly and forcefully. You will note that he includes pauses to allow his words to resonate with the listener.

JFK used tone to emphasise the most important parts of his speeches and stories. This allowed him to draw attention to what he wanted to show people.

Reason #3 – He Used Repetition Effectively

Repetition can be a powerful storyshowing tool, when used correctly. It allows you to emphasise the key points of your story. However, overuse can make your speech come off as redundant.

JFK’s inaugural speech offers an excellent example of how to use repetition to great effect. About half way through the speech, JFK settles on the phrase “Let both sides…” as the subject of his repetition.

He then goes on to deliver four crucial points of his speech. In each case, he uses the repeated phrase to punctuate the deeper message that follows:

“Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belabouring those problems which divide us.

Let both sides, for the first time, formulate serious and precise proposals for the inspection and control of arms--and bring the absolute power to destroy other nations under the absolute control of all nations.”

This is JFKs call for a unity that will transcend the political divides that become most potent during a presidential race. With the race settled, JFK calls on all Americans to join with him in a combined effort to achieve more.

In this case “Let both sides…” allows JFK to address everybody listening. With their attention captured, he is able to show everybody what he hopes to achieve.

Reason #4 – He Kept Speeches Short and Concise

The speaking industry has evolved in recent years. Greater value is now placed on getting your message out there quickly and concisely.

You have to dig into the roots of your message to show your story effectively. There can be no pontificating around your points if you are to engage your audience.

JFK’s inaugural speech offers an excellent example of this. Clocking in at just over 1,300 words, the speech lasted for less than 15 minutes. But in that time, JFK used his storyshowing ability to unite a nation.

Imagine if his speech had run for double that amount of time. Eventually, the story would have gotten lost among filler and content that didn’t focus on the key messages that JFK wanted to deliver.

Reason #5 – He Made His Audience the Subject

Throughout his speech, JFK regularly associates himself with his audience. He may be their president. But he does not hold himself above them while speaking.

He uses the word “us” to create a connection between himself and his audience:

“Let us never negotiate out of fear.”

“Now the trumpet summons us again…”

“Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths and encourage the arts and commerce.”

Rarely will you find him speak of himself in the first person during the speech.

This technique served a powerful purpose with his inaugural address. JFK wished to show his audience that he hoped to unite them. Instead of telling them how he intended to do this, he showed them what would be possible together.

Whether this technique works for you depends on the subject of your speech. If you’re showing people your own story, there are fewer opportunities to make the audience the subject.

However, this technique does highlight the importance of connecting with your audience. It shows the vital nature of including them in the story in order to engage them. By using the word “us” instead of “me”, JFK connected directly with his audience.



Reason #6 – He Used Body Language to His Advantage

Many people do not know that JFK struggled with several medical conditions during his presidency. A combination of back problems and Addison’s disease left him in constant pain. At times, he could only walk with the aid of crutches.

Many don’t know this because Kennedy didn’t show it. In fact, those who have observed him speak note that he made excellent use of body language. JFK would stride into rooms confidently and open himself up to his audience.

His performance during his debates with Richard Nixon showcased this ability too. JFK was at once powerful and welcoming. He exuded an aura of competence while also showing his audience that he was one of them and understood them.

But he never showed them his biggest vulnerability.

Vulnerability can be a useful tool to help you connect with your audience. But in JFK’s case, he was a man in a position of great power. Too much vulnerability could leave him seeming weak, which would not inspire confidence in his audience.

JFK used his body language to convey an aura of strength. He used this to his advantage to capture an audience’s attention so that he could show his story.

Reason #7 – He Bled Authenticity

We come back to JFK’s inaugural speech to demonstrate the final reason why he was such a powerful storyshower.

JFK imbued his speech with an authenticity that most cannot replicate. He truly seemed to believe every word that he said about uniting the nation.

The words he spoke, and the underlying mission, seemed to come straight from his heart. He delivered them in a forthright way that helped the listener understand exactly what he wanted to achieve. There was no room for fakery or misplaced sentiment. JFK’s inaugural speech was a statement of intent.

This proved particularly powerful in the political realm, where authenticity is in short supply. JFK wasn’t looking to placate the people with meaningless words. He wanted to show them what was possible if they would unite under his vision.

The Final Word

JFK didn’t just dry recite a bunch of words on a page to his audience. In every speech, but particularly during his inaugural address, he showed people his vision for the United States.

JFK used his body language to convey a sense of strength and openness. He used storyshowing techniques, such as repetition and making his audience the subject, to get an emotional response. He spoke with authority and authenticity while making excellent use of tone.

Finally, he never outstayed his welcome. JFK got to the heart of his message quickly.

With the right guidance, you can become a powerful storyshower in the same vein as JFK. Speakers Institute can show you the way. We recommend that you do the following:

With Speakers Institute, you’ll learn how to become a powerful and influential storyshower.


  • Take me to GREENROOM. The #1OnlineHub connecting you to the world’s leading Influencers, Training and Curriculum. VISIT GREENROOM
  • Join SPEAKERS TRIBE CONFERENCE. The Ultimate Annual event for Influencers globally. APPLY TO SPEAK
  • Attend MASTERING STORYSHOWING FOR INFLUENCE AND AUTHORITY last event. A free event, learning from 7 times International Best Seller and Professional Storyteller, Sam Cawthorn, learning his secrets and techniques. BOOK NOW

How Real People Transform Themselves Into Storyshowers (And How You Can Do the Same)


Are you a Storyteller or a Storyshower? It’s not enough to just tell people about your story. You need to show them.

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The speaking industry is changing.

For decades, speakers have spent their time telling stories. They’ll stand on stage for hours on end and talk.

But things have changed. People don’t want to listen to speakers who just recite dry facts. They want to go on an emotional ride with a storyshower.

Great storyshowers bleed authenticity. They know what makes their story unique and they can unlock the emotional power behind their words. Storyshowers can influence an audience and inspire their teams.

Storyshowers do so much more than tell you what they know. They pull down their own defences and let their audiences in. They transport their audiences to moments in time and help them to feel what they felt during those moments.

All of the speaking techniques in the world won’t help you if you can’t show people your story. You may feel confident and powerful on stage. But if you just tell people what you know, they’ll never fully engage with you.

We’re going to help you unlock the secrets. And to do it, we’re going to show you the stories of some of Speakers Institute’s most successful clients.

Vicki’s Story

Vicky comes from a long line of Vietnamese boat people. In the 1980s, her family decided to move to Australia in an effort to make a better life for their children. They entered the restaurant trade and Vicky followed suit.

But there was a voice deep inside that told her she could do so much more. Her story could make a difference. She just needs to learn how to show it to people.

Vicki finally felt like enough was enough. The restaurant trade wasn’t helping her to fulfil her purpose, so she decided to attend a Speakers Institute bootcamp.

In just a few short days, she unlocked the secrets of why she exists and what her story can show other people. After the bootcamp, Vicki attained a clarity of purpose that she may not have discovered on her own.

She decided to take the next step and enrolled in our Top Tier program. She developed her story and learned more about how to show it to the world. With us, Vicki learned how to position herself in the marketplace so she stood out from everyone else. She learned how to frame one disruptive idea with emotional stories that engage and influence audiences.

Vicki became a storyshower. And with Speakers Institute, she learned how to package her story to reach the widest audience possible.

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Vicki’s Tip – Commercialise Your Message

Many speakers have great stories to show people. But thousands of people struggle to turn their speaking into a viable business.

Becoming a storyshower means little if you don’t have the business framework to get your message out there.

With Speakers Institute, Vicki learned how to commercialise her message. She discovered that taking keynote speaking engagements would help her to reach a wider audience. Vicki created a brand around her story. She used the power of her uniqueness to connect and she took advantage of commercial platforms to spread her message.

Then, she focused on packaging her story.

Live speaking isn’t the only way to show people your story. Sure, the speakers all engage with a live audience during the initial engagement. But that speech then gets posted online and viewed by millions of people from all around the world.

One speaking engagement can lead to a world of change.

Vicki learned that collecting her most powerful stories into an online package could help her to earn while showing people her story.

Today, she maintains a set of online courses that earn her $10,000 every month.

But that doesn’t mean that she’s stopped giving keynote speeches. In fact, she takes part in two or three live engagements every week, each of which earns her $6,000.

Constant refinement of your story can help you to engage more people. Show people why they have to care as quickly as possible. Package your story so that it appeals to the modern commercial market. People don’t want multi-hour meandering speeches. They want you to catch their attention with a story that’s well articulated and commercially viable.

Peter’s Story

Peter’s story starts with a tragedy. In his mid-20s, Peter was in a motorcycle accident that left him disabled.

Months of painful rehabilitation followed and he struggled to see a light at the end of the tunnel. But through sheer will and persistence, Peter overcame.

Then, he started thinking about how he could use his story to help other people. He’d been through a hellacious experience and come out the other end. He wanted to show people how he did it.

Peter joined the Speakers Institute bootcamp because he knew that he needed to learn from the best in the business.

With us, he learned how to refine his message and show the emotions that drove his story. But he also learned how to develop the business behind his story. Speakers Institute gave Peter access to a support network that helped him to share his story.

Through the bootcamp, Peter met a ghost writer who he worked with to turn his story into a book.

Over the next few months, Peter worked on his book. Then, he relied on the connections he’d built with Speakers Institute to open up his distribution channels. Peter’s story found its way into every airport in Australia, Singapore, and New Zealand.

The end result was a place in the Top 50 list for his book’s niche. Peter also got the opportunity to talk about his work on the Australian show Project TV, which ramped up his exposure.

Today, he’s a speaker, author, and life coach who shares his story with thousands of people.

Peter’s Tip – Find Other Ways to Show Your Story

Your speaking is a great way to show people your story.

But it’s not the only avenue that’s open to you. In Peter’s case, writing and publishing a book brought his story to a much wider audience. Thousands of people discovered what he had to say who may never have attended one of his speeches.

His entire business grew from there. His book led to television appearances, which raised even more awareness about his story. From there, Peter started taking paid speaking gigs where he showed a different side of his story to his live audiences.

You could even argue that his book is the reason why he enjoys such a successful career today.

Here’s the point. You have so many different avenues available to you if you have a story to share. A book is one of them, but the internet also holds many possibilities. Websites and social media pages offer you the chance to show parts of your story to visitors. You can even use webinars to show your story to people who can’t attend your live events.

Much like Vicki, Peter commercialised his story. As a result, he got to show it to even more people so that he could build a sustainable career.

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Bonus Tip – Balance Your Emotional Content

The above tips will help you to package your story and get it in front of a larger audience.

But that won’t help if you don’t understand how to storyshow.

It all comes down to emotion. But it’s not as simple as it sounds. Balancing your emotional content is the key to showing people a story that they will engage with.

Speakers Institute founder Sam Cawthorn offers a perfect example of how not to achieve the right emotional balance.

Much like Peter, Sam’s speaking career started with a vehicle accident. He crashed his car and lost his arm. But he knew that his story could inspire and influence others.

But Sam’s first paid speaking engagement didn’t go as he expected. After capturing the audience’s attention with a few jokes and some statistics, he moved into his story.

Throughout his telling of his story, Sam didn’t pause for breath. He just kept going without giving his audience any chance to absorb the emotional weight of the tale.

Worse yet, he showed no vulnerability. Instead of showing people how much his accident devastated him, Sam cracked jokes repeatedly. He put up his defensive barriers and made connecting with his audience impossible.

Humour has a place and it can elicit joyful emotions. But it’s not something that you sprinkle throughout a story about a tragic accident.

In that moment, Sam learned about the importance of balancing his emotional content. He discovered that he had to show his audience the true emotions behind what happened to him.

Vulnerability makes him authentic and keeps his audience engaged.

Balance your emotional content. If you’re showing people a difficult moment, let them feel it. Pause so they understand your emotional state and avoid trying to bring levity into the situation.

On the flipside, don’t dwell on vulnerability. That could make you seem self-pitying. Understand the emotion behind every aspect of your story and show it to your audience.

The Final Word

With Speakers Institute, Vicki and Peter learned how to show their story. As importantly, they learned about the business behind storyshowing.

You can do the same. And it all starts with taking one of the following steps:

With Speakers Institute, you’ll become a storyshower who has the tools needed to get their message out.

  • Take me to GREENROOM. The #1OnlineHub connecting you to the world’s leading Influencers, Training and Curriculum. VISIT GREENROOM
  • Join SPEAKERS TRIBE CONFERENCE. The Ultimate Annual event for Influencers globally. APPLY TO SPEAK
  • Attend MASTERING STORYSHOWING FOR INFLUENCE AND AUTHORITY last event. A free event, learning from 7 times International Best Seller and Professional Storyteller, Sam Cawthorn, learning his secrets and techniques. BOOK NOW

3-Step Formula To Overcome Difficult Situations

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Have you ever felt genuinely “not okay” in your life and you don’t know how to turn around a difficult situation?

Learn and watch how Sam Cawthorn, a powerful motivational speaker, explains the 3-Step Formula on how to cope and win with such adversity.

  • Take me to GREENROOM. The #1OnlineHub connecting you to the world’s leading Influencers, Training and Curriculum. VISIT GREENROOM
  • Join SPEAKERS TRIBE CONFERENCE. The Ultimate Annual event for Influencers globally. APPLY TO SPEAK
  • Attend MASTERING STORYSHOWING FOR INFLUENCE AND AUTHORITY last event. A free event, learning from 7 times International Best Seller and Professional Storyteller, Sam Cawthorn, learning his secrets and techniques. BOOK NOW

The Business of Speaking (And Three Tips for Building a Million-Dollar Speaking Empire)

Great speakers can earn millions from their work. But to do that, you need to understand the business of speaking as well as well as you understand the concept of storyshowing.


There are thousands of amazing speakers in the world.

They’re, in fact, experts in storyshowing. They can make their audiences feel every word that they say. Every speech they make influences people to make positive changes in their lives.

And they’re making absolutely no money from their work.

Being a great speaker doesn’t automatically make you a great businessperson. You can deliver the goods every time that you’re on stage. But without the business acumen to back it up, you won’t make any money.

That’s why so many thousands of great storyshowers can’t make a great living from their work.

It’s about much more than your talent. Your speaking is your product. If you don’t know how to sell it, you’re essentially giving it away for free.

You need to understand the business behind speaking before you can build a great career. But the good news is that there’s plenty of money to make once you do. Leading speakers get paid thousands of dollars for each engagement.

Do you want to join their ranks?

Here are a few tips to help you build your speaking empire.


Tip #1 – Build Your Integrated Product Funnel

Integrated Product Funnel (IPF) is a salesy term that doesn’t seem like it relates to storyshowing.

But a strong IPF can have a huge effect on your speaking business.

It’s the old “try before you buy” idea. Give your clients something for free to get them to buy the services that you have to offer.

Apple offers an amazing example of how to do this.

It all starts with iTunes.

iTunes is a free application that anybody can download regardless of whether they own an Apple device.

And that’s where the selling starts. Using iTunes, you can buy music, movies, and all sorts of digital products. Apple offers free samples of all of these things to encourage you to buy.

But then you need something to play them on, so you buy an iPod or an iPhone.

Now you’re hooked on the brand. Let’s say that you want to get a tablet computer. Do you go with another manufacturer or do you go with the familiar company that you understand.

Of course, you buy the iPad.

That’s how Apple sell so many products and create a sense of brand loyalty. By giving iTunes away for free, they’re showing people what they can get. They just need to buy Apple’s devices to access it.

Tesla does a great job of this too. A salesperson talk all day about the many great features of a Tesla car. But they’ll tell you it’s not until you give it a drive that you’ll really understand.

You get that free test drive and you’re hooked. Tesla have just made a sale.

So, how can you use the IPF funnel for your storyshowing business?

Highlighting your talents on other media helps. Create a Facebook page and posts clips of yourself speaking. People can view them for free, but they won’t get the entire story until they hire you.

Write blog posts and build a website. Give people a small sample of what they’ll get. That tiny taste gives them a good enough idea of what you’re about to give them the confidence to hire you.

Of course, you could take things further. At Speakers Institute, we often invite potential clients to our speaking engagements for free. They get to see what we have to offer, which means they’re more likely to hire us.

Plus, they’ll talk about us to their friends. Our IPF funnel turns our potential clients into storyshowers on our behalf.


Tip #2 – Turn Clients into Storyshowers

We touched on the concept of turning your clients into storyshowers. Let’s expand on it a little here.

Traditionally, you’d rely on the salesperson or the publicist to get people interested in your product. If you’re a speaker, you may use an agent to advertise what you’re selling.

But social media has completely changed the way that we do things.

And that brings you right back around to your speaking.

Don’t just tell people what’s so great about you. Show them. Make them feel something with your story and take them on an emotional ride that they just have to share.

In traditional terms, you’re looking to generate “word of mouth”.

But using modern tools, you’re looking to tell stories.

Think about it like this. We all respect the opinions of people we trust over random salespeople. When a friend or family member tells a positive story about an experience, you’re more likely to want to share in that experience.

Every like, share, and comment adds to that story.

Eventually, the people that you tell your story to become storyshowers themselves. They’re showing people that you’ve never interacted with why they should hire you.

And the seed just keeps growing. Every story that you show plants a new seed. The people who you take along for the ride share your story and add to it.

And in doing that, you build the human factor into your product or service. It doesn’t matter what you’re trying to sell. What matters is that people connect with it.

Use every tool that you have at your disposal. Show people a story that’s so riveting that they can’t help but share it with others.

All of the while, your business grows. Attendance to your speaking engagement go up and you become an influencer in your sector. The more you and others showcase your story, the more demand that you experience.


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Tip #3 – Show Your Story to Your Team

When you’re up on stage, it can feel like you’re all alone.

Sure, you have an audience that you’re trying to influence. But it’s your story that’s going to make or break the engagement. It’s up to you to show them something that will influence them towards whatever decisions that you want them to make.

But when it comes to the business of speaking, you must recognise that you’re not alone. You’ll usually have an entire team of people working with you.

If you haven’t shown them your story, you can’t expect them to help others to understand it either.

Daniel Flynn offers his view on this subject. He’s the co-founder of Thankyou, which is a social enterprise that helps communities find sustainable water sources.

Every penny of the profit made from Thankyou’s products go towards that goal.

But Daniel needs to show people a compelling story to convince them to buy water. To do that, the company lets people in on the good and the bad. They show people the highs and lows that they’ve gone through to get where they are.

They let them see their vulnerable side.

None of that would work if the whole team wasn’t working to get people to join the story.

As Daniel says to his sales team: “We are not salespeople, we are storytellers and we are inviting that person across the table from us to be part of this story. They can write the next chapter with us.”

It’s a team effort. Daniel may show Thankyou’s story on stage. But the entire team has to show it when dealing with potential clients.

It’s a group effort that achieves a single goal – continuing to write your story.

Your team has to understand your story and why it’s important. They have to believe in what you’re doing and what you’re trying to show people.

If they’re not fully engaged, the whole thing falls apart. You could tell the greatest stories on stage. But when your team doesn’t back you up off stage, people aren’t going to buy your product.


The Final Word

The business of speaking comes down to knowing what makes your story unique. You need to engage people emotionally and show them what’s so special about you.

But always remember that your speaking is one of your products.

Without the right business structure, you can only go so far. To build a business empire you need:

  • An effective IPF that gives people enough of a taste of your story for them to want to explore more.

  • Show people a story that’s so amazing that they have to share it with other people. Build a community around your story and turn your clients into storyshowers on your behalf.

  • Build a team that believes in the story you’re showing and wants to spread the message. It’s ultimately your team that will help you to sell your story and your products.

Of course, we all need a little help every now and again. We’ve shown you some of the key tips for building your speaking empire.

But there’s so much more to learn. We encourage you to do all of the following:

We’ll help you to learn how to show your story. Then, we’ll help you to build a business around your story.

  • Take me to GREENROOM. The #1OnlineHub connecting you to the world’s leading Influencers, Training and Curriculum. VISIT GREENROOM
  • Join SPEAKERS TRIBE CONFERENCE. The Ultimate Annual event for Influencers globally. APPLY TO SPEAK
  • Attend MASTERING STORYSHOWING FOR INFLUENCE AND AUTHORITY last event. A free event, learning from 7 times International Best Seller and Professional Storyteller, Sam Cawthorn, learning his secrets and techniques. BOOK NOW

7 Little Known Speaking Secrets You Can Learn From Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream" Speech



Turning a struggle into an engaging story is not enough to inspire others to believe in a shared dream. You need to show them the story.


Martin Luther King Jr. had a profound impact on race relations in the United States and beyond. His inspirational speeches and peaceful activism empowered the Civil Rights Movement.

King was a key figure of the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955 that ignited the fight for racial equality. In 1963, he was at the forefront of the March on Washington. At the capital, before more than 200,000 people, he made one of the greatest speeches of the 20th century.

Through his words and actions, King inspired the creation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 also owes him a great debt.

Today, King's lasting influence transcends the realms of race and politics. His speeches continue to empower people to believe in shared dreams. But of all his speeches, "I Have a Dream" is the one that most resonates with us today.

And if you aim to be the best storyshower you can be, you really need to study it.


The Famous Speech

King kept working on his speech as demonstrators were gathering before the Lincoln Memorial. He worked with his advisers to put the final touches on an inspiring speech. The occasion was momentous. The march had a great aim – to pressure the United States Congress to pass a new civil rights bill.

King was the 16th on a programme that included nine other speakers. When his turn came, he began to read his drafted speech like a lecture. The reaction was far from ecstatic.

"I Have a Dream" was probably not the speech that King intended to deliver. He had delivered it before. He knew it by heart.

But his adviser Wyatt Walker had told him not to use it, calling it "trite” and “clichéd".

As he neared the end of his drafted speech, the gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, who was behind King, urged him to “Tell ‘em about the dream, Martin.”

Why did King listen to her? Why did he launch into “I Have a Dream?”

For King, it was not enough to tell the demonstrators about the future he envisioned. He knew that he needed to show it to them. He knew that he needed to lay aside rhetoric and simple facts and inspire them to believe in a shared dream.


Tip #1 – Show Your Story, Don’t Just Tell It

In his speech, King did not tell a story of freedom. He did not simply enumerate the difficulties that the African American community was facing. Instead, he opened a window of understanding in those who listened. He showed them a story of a man embroiled in the struggle of his race.

This is the reason why we still remember King’s speech today.

“I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.”

King’s word choice and the eye contact that he made with his listeners helped to convey a story that was not only his own but the story of a race and of a country. His forceful but exact delivery made his story flow through him and into the hearts of his listeners.

King did not report facts that all those gathered knew already. Instead, he built empathy and engagement. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t introduce facts into your speeches.

You can toggle between facts and telling a story to make your speech more engaging. Use dialogue and take your audience on a journey to a meaningful transformation. Above all, show how your story resonates with your audience.


Tip #2 – Be Unapologetically Yourself

King stood up and shared the story of his race, and by implication, of his own struggles. In one of the most famous parts of his speech, he said:

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.”

That statement is a deeply personal one. It hints at the vulnerability of his dream. Because throughout his life, others had judged King by the colour of his skin.

It also hints at the vulnerability of his children, and at the vulnerability of all African Americans. But despite the forcefulness and confidence of his delivery, King did not try to prove his rightness through his own might.

When you open yourself before your audience and admit your vulnerability, you connect with them on a deeper level.

As a speaker, you are often on a platform or podium that’s higher than your audience. But to truly connect with them, you must never forget that you walk among them. You are vulnerable like they are, and if you speak about your vulnerabilities, they will understand.


Tip #3 – Give Your Speech the Right Cadence and Rhythm

If you have watched the recording of the “I Have a Dream” speech, parts of the speech may strike you as slow. Despite the passion with which he speaks, King did not rush to deliver his speech. He gave his speech the right cadence and rhythm at the word level.

Cadence and rhythm are something that every speaker uses, consciously or not. However, less experienced speakers may not apply them as scrupulously as King did. If you think of the cadence of a speech at the sentence-level, you may rush your speech.

But King lingered on individual words and phrases to make the pauses between words more meaningful. When he needed to make a strong point, he used repetitions to enforce his message. To increase the power of his speech, he alternated longer, slower sections with brisker sentences.

“I have a dream today,” he said, and then paused. He continued with a longer sentence, “I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low.” After this he used a shorter, blunter delivery: “This is our hope.”


Tip #4 – Use Anaphora to Create Powerful Repetitions

In his build-up to one of his most famous sentences, Martin Luther King used anaphora. This rhetorical device refers to the repetition of words at the beginning of consecutive sentences:

“Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation... Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.”

But King did not use anaphora merely as a rhetorical trick. He did not use it to grab attention but to stress a belief. The belief that the time for change has come, and with it, the importance of the present moment.

By the time he used this device, his audience’s eyes were already riveted on him. He used it naturally when the cadence and the rhythm of his speech invited it.

Furthermore, he did not overuse it. He put it aside at the right time and allowed for longer stretches of slower, less nuanced but no less forceful expositions.

Repetitions help reinforce your point and give rhythm to your speeches. Use them to make your speeches more inspiring.


Tip #5 – Infuse Your Speech with Vivid Metaphors

King’s speech was rich with vivid metaphors. This is one of the reasons his speech had a mesmeric quality to it, despite its apparent slowness.

"But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt."

Metaphors are an integral part of any story. They broaden and deepen the meaning of your words. They help you to show your story.

"Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood."

When you associate ideas with visual concepts, you make them more forceful. At the same time, you make them more memorable.

While King’s speech had an immediate impact, it needed time to secure its place in history. But it’s in no small measure due to these metaphors that it endures in our minds today.

Whether you are speaking at a corporate event or before a crowd, make room for vivid metaphors in your speech. Let poetry and literature inspire you.


Tip #6 – Give Your Speech a Beginning, a Middle, and an End

At the beginning of his speech, King turned back the clock:

“Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today...”

He then gradually built up his speech to that day in August 1963. He drew attention to the importance of that historic moment:

“Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy...”

He finished his speech with a hopeful, emphatic message, one that called for a better future:

“Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring...”

Structure your speech like a story. Plan it with a beginning, a middle, and an end in mind. In this way, you can build your speech to a resolution that has a forceful impact on your listeners.

This approach will help you show your story rather than simply tell it. It gives your speech a shape to which you can add details and incorporate stories.


Tip #7 – Speak with Passion

Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his speech with passion. But he mastered his passion, even restrained it, so that it would not distort the cadence of his speech.

It’s not the ebullient passion of a salesman on a cold call. Rather, it’s the passion of a man who believes in his convictions.

A less experienced speaker may confuse passion with a quick delivery. Perhaps even with verbosity. But King’s passion stresses every world and imbues even the silence between words with meaning.

So that, towards the end of his speech, when he calls all who listen to action, we truly believe him:

“So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania...”


The Final Word

Martin Luther King Jr. was not a storyteller. He was a storyshower. Using words, body language, and meaningful pauses, he told the story of a race at a turning point in its history.

“I Have a Dream” can help you become a better speaker. It can show you how to channel the power of language to tell visual stories that empower your audience. It can show you how to make a shared dream a reality.

Becoming a storyshower is a process. It calls for more than using certain rhetorical devices or speech structures. Speakers Institute can help you become a storyshower.

  • Take me to GREENROOM. The #1OnlineHub connecting you to the world’s leading Influencers, Training and Curriculum. VISIT GREENROOM
  • Join SPEAKERS TRIBE CONFERENCE. The Ultimate Annual event for Influencers globally. APPLY TO SPEAK
  • Attend MASTERING STORYSHOWING FOR INFLUENCE AND AUTHORITY last event. A free event, learning from 7 times International Best Seller and Professional Storyteller, Sam Cawthorn, learning his secrets and techniques. BOOK NOW

5 Surprising Tips That’ll Get You Paid (Yes, Paid) Speaking Gigs

When you speak at an event, you’re providing a service. You shouldn’t have to provide that service for free. Find out what these people did to get paid for speaking.


How much did you get paid for your last speaking engagement?

Did you even get paid at all?

For many, the answer is a resounding “no”. There’s no shortage in the number of speaking opportunities out there. But so many of them offer no payment for your services.

Even some of the most prestigious organisations and institutions don’t pay their speakers. Perhaps they assume that you’ll get something valuable from your association with the brand. The exposure could certainly lead to more speaking opportunities.

But that doesn’t mean much if you’re not getting paid. You can’t build a speaking career on exposure alone.

If you’re considered enough of an authority to speak for somebody, you’re valuable enough to get paid.

The world’s top speakers understand this. People like Tony Robbins earn thousands from a single speaking engagement. Former United States president Bill Clinton regularly commands $250,000+ or more for speaking.

There’s money out there for speakers. You just need to know how to get it. These tips and stories from people who get paid to speak can help you.


Tip #1 – Have the Courage to Ask


Femjineer founder Poornima Vijayashanker made a startling discovery early in her speaking career.

Her research told her that top speakers can earn up to six figures for their speaking.

Yet she’d never received payment for a single speaking engagement.

She reached out to other speakers and found many of them were in the same position. She thought about getting an agent. But then she found that most agents only work with bestselling authors and Fortune 500 CEOs.

These were the people that were already getting paid for speaking.

Vijayashanker realised that she had to go it alone, so she made a promise to herself. She would ask for payment when her next speaking opportunity arose.

That opportunity came with an invite to speak as part of a panel for a Wharton School of Business conference. Vijayashanker wanted to take part and may have even done it for free.

But she’d made a promise to herself.

Vijayashanker tallied up the costs associated with taking part. Then, she sent her response: “Thanks for the offer, I’d love to speak on your panel, but I’ll need to be paid for my time.”

She only asked for $75.

The Wharton School of Business said that they could cover that fee and Vijayashanker learned a valuable lesson.

If you don’t ask, you don’t get paid.

Today she asks in excess of $10,000 and companies pay it.

Think about how this story relates to your own speaking career. Are you waiting around for people to offer payment when they offer an opportunity?

If so, you’re less likely to receive payment. Vijayashanker saw her speaking career take on a whole new dimension when she developed the courage to ask for payment. You can do the same.

The next time you’re offered an opportunity, ask the question. You’ll find that many organisations will happily pay you for your time, within reason. And you’ll have taken your first big step into paid speaking.

Tip #2 – Learn How to Negotiate a Price


Vijayashanker offers some more advice when it comes to setting your fee.

You may have an idea of your value. But the organisation you speak for also has an idea of the price they’re willing to pay.

Most importantly, most will want you to set a fee. If you get this wrong, you may lose the engagement.

Vijayashanker recognises the danger of pricing yourself out of the opportunity. She says that a simple formula helps her to set a reasonable price.

“My formula factors in any admission charges for attendees, and how many people will be attending the event,” she says.

“I multiply those two numbers together to get a sense of gross sales and ask anywhere from 1% to 10% of those gross sales”

You don’t have to use her formula, but you must understand her point. Every organisation is different. Some have massive budgets for speakers, whereas others may not have even considered paying you.

Price yourself appropriately and you’ll stand more chance of getting paid.


Tip #3 – Offer Something of Value


Let’s look at the story of Harry Walker to demonstrate the importance of offering value.

Many consider Walker to be one of the early innovators in the speaking industry. During the 1960s and 70s, he created an agency that represented a number of influential speakers of the time.

Most of these speakers didn’t get paid before joining Walker.

The reason that they started earning is because Walker offered something different to audiences. In his terms, his speakers offered “mind stretching programs.”

His son boiled this term down upon Walker’s death in 2002.

“That meant instead of talking to Coca-Cola executives about bottling—which is what they used to hear about—talk to them about what's happening in the world,” he says.

Simply put, Walker’s speakers offered something of value that the audience couldn’t get anywhere else. They weren’t telling them things that they already knew. Instead, Walker’s speakers provided insight that could inform a company’s decisions. A company like Coca-Cola could use these insights to create more effective marketing campaigns.

The speaking industry has evolved since the 1960s and 70s.

But the concept of offering value remains the same.

If you don’t have something unique to share with others, you’re not going to get paid.

Think about what makes your speaking special. Your story has a unique value, as do the emotions you get people to feel when you speak. Your experiences offer value and you need to project that to your audience.

Invite people to your speeches or share video of you in action to show the value that you have to offer. As long as you can give your audience something unique, you’re more likely to receive payment for your efforts.

Tip #4 – Diversify


Sam Johnson is a tenured professor at a university in the United States. He’s also not too keen about sharing his place of work or his real name. Sam Johnson is actually a pseudonym, but that doesn’t mean that his advice doesn’t carry value.

Because according to Sam, he gets paid about $60,000 per month for speaking.

In 2016, Sam wrote an article for Chronicle Vitae in which he spoke about how he gets paid to speak. In that essay, he brings up the topic of diversification.

“…The key to earning a good income from speaking fees is being able to talk about more than one topic,” he says. “The more speeches in your repertoire, the larger your pool of potential clients.”

You may think that you only have your own story to share. And that is the crux of all of your speaking.

But every story has many facets. There are so many different angles that you can approach your speaking from. You also have a range of experiences to draw from.

Use all of that to diversify your speaking. Show that you’re more than a one-trick pony and you’ll make yourself a more desirable speaker. The more people that you can speak for, the more likely you are to get paid.

Tip #5 – Search for Events


Don’t wait for speaking opportunities to come to you.

Go out and seek them on your own.

You’ll often find that you can find further work in your audience. An audience member who you impressed with your speech may want to use you themselves. And they’ve seen your work first-hand. They know what you can do and will be more willing to pay for your time.

But what about those who are new to speaking?

In this case, Google is a great friend.

First, make a list of all of the topics that you feel comfortable speaking about. You may have specific areas of expertise that your story relates to. Figure out what you can offer before you start your search.

Let’s say that you live in Sydney and your speaking centres on entrepreneurship. A simple Google search of “Sydney entrepreneur conference” offers the following results:



These are all conferences where you might be able to speak. Better yet, there’s a list of related searches at the bottom of the page that will show you more potential search terms.

Be proactive and start getting in touch with any that you may be able to offer a service to. Speak to the event organisers, show them what you can do, and remember Tip #1. Always ask for a fee.

But it all starts with being proactive and making a list.



People can go many years of speaking without earning a single dollar. They keep waiting for the right opportunity instead of doing something about it.

Don’t fall into that group.

Being proactive nets you far more than you may realise. Search for organisations that could use your services and ensure you have something unique to offer. Create a diverse range of speeches that let you appeal to the widest possible audience.

Most importantly, have the courage to ask for payment.

Of course, it’s always a good idea to get some help along the way. Speakers Institute can help you to hone your story and ensure you show people your value. Try doing the following to get started:

  • Take me to GREENROOM. The #1OnlineHub connecting you to the world’s leading Influencers, Training and Curriculum. VISIT GREENROOM
  • Join SPEAKERS TRIBE CONFERENCE. The Ultimate Annual event for Influencers globally. APPLY TO SPEAK
  • Attend MASTERING STORYSHOWING FOR INFLUENCE AND AUTHORITY last event. A free event, learning from 7 times International Best Seller and Professional Storyteller, Sam Cawthorn, learning his secrets and techniques. BOOK NOW

Tony Robbins: 5 Secrets For Influencing Millions Of People

Discover how world-renowned speaker Tony Robbins is spreading his message around the world.


What is your main aim when you stand up in front of people and speak?

Sure, you want to get your story out there. You want people to listen and respond positively to what you have to say.

But there’s a wider goal that all speakers reach for.

You want to influence other people to take action based on your words.

You want them to listen to your story and use it to inspire them towards something new in their lives.

When you speak, you’re essentially selling your story. You’re asking people to listen to what you have to say and trying to influence them to make a decision based on your words.

In that respect, the speaker is much like the salesperson. And both need to master the art of influence to master their craft.

When it comes to influencing people, there’s perhaps no greater authority than Tony Robbins. His sales and speaking expertise has influenced the decisions of many global companies and some of the most successful people in the world. Robbins understands how to use his words, stories, and emotions to influence others.

You can learn from him.



Who is Tony Robbins?


Tony Robbins has been an influential figure on the business scene for over four decades.

But to know what built him into the monolith of speaking you see today, you need to go back to his early years.

Robbins’ early career saw him working alongside another famed speaker – Jim Rohn. In many ways, Rohn’s career provided a map for the route that Robbins would later follow. A speaker and author, Rohn was also an entrepreneur with a deep understanding of the business world.

Robbins promoted events and releases on behalf of Rohn. More importantly, he learned from Rohn that material possessions aren’t the key to happiness. Instead, it’s what you do with the resources that you have available that determines your happiness.

That’s a lesson that Robbins takes into everything that he does.

Rohn’s work inspired and influenced Robbins. Towards the end of the 1980s, Robbins started to forge his own path as a speaker and business consultant.

Fast-forward to today and Robbins can claim that he’s influenced over 50 million people with his writing and speaking. The author of six bestselling books, Robbins also tours the globe to speak about his life training programs. In total, he’s spoken to over 4 million people.

More importantly, his unique combination of humour and expertise has had a transformative effect on many. From Fortune 500 companies through to regular people, Robbins has influenced many to make positive changes.

He can also inspire you to become a more influential speaker.


Tony Robbins’ Secrets


You now have one burning question.

How do you influence people in the same way as Tony Robbins?

Thankfully, Robbins isn’t shy about sharing the wealth. He’s more than happy to offer some insight into his techniques. These secrets will help you to master the art of influencing.


Secret #1 – Understand the Power of Words


Speakers Institute often talks about the importance of injecting emotion into your speaking. Even something as simple as a single word can transform a speech. It’s up to you to harness the emotional power of the words that you use. Doing so helps you to deliver influential speeches.

Robbins has his own take on the power of words. He says, “When it comes to language, <words are> really important because language produces emotion.”

“Learn which words move you forward and pull you back. The words that pull you back – get rid of them.”

Robbins goes on to say that words like “depressed” can have a devastating effect on a speaker’s emotions. If you’re using such words, you’re affecting your own sense of wellbeing. That comes across in your speaking.

Here’s the point. The words that you use all have emotional weight. It’s up to you to balance that weight. If the emotion attached to the words you use pulls you back, it’s going to do the same to your audience. Learn which words move you forward and incorporate more of them into your speaking.

You’ll have a more positive influence and keep your audience on board as you speak.


Secret #2 – Influence by Association


Robbins also has another powerful weapon in his arsenal.

He ensures that he’s seen with the right people at the right times. Robbins hobnobs with other influencers for a simple reason.

A combination of influential personalities boosts your influence further.

Just conduct a Google image search using Robbins’ name. You’ll see him photographed with influencers from practically every field. He's networked with business tycoons, like Richard Branson, and former world leaders, like Bill Clinton.

But it’s not a case of name-dropping. Robbins’ association with other influencers is his way of building a network. He offers something of value to them, just like they do to him.

He’s building relationships.

You can do the same. While you may not have access to the same sort of influencers, you can still build your network. Attend business events and get in front of the key influencers in your sector. Associate with these influencers and others will know that your words carry weight. If they didn’t, you wouldn’t have people wanting to associate with you.

This lends credibility to your speaking, which increases your powers of influence.


Secret #3 – Know Your Audience


Do you know what Tony Robbins does before he speaks at an event?

He does what he calls his “homework”. This involves finding out as much as possible about the people attending the event. In some cases, he even interviews attendees to get direct answers from them.

He says: “…The more you understand what somebody wants, needs, and fears, the more you can figure out how to add value.”

“Add value” is the key phrase here.

Speaking isn’t just about telling your story.

Sure, people want to hear what you have to say. But they’re attending because they have their own problems and pain points. They’re hoping to learn something that helps them to solve these issues.

That’s where knowing your audience becomes important. The research you conduct offers you some insight into what your audience intends to achieve when they watch you speak.

It’s not about you telling people your story.

It’s about making them feel something and helping them to use that to find answers.


Secret #4 – Prepare Your Body and Brain


At its heart, speaking is a performance. You’re standing up in front of people and putting on a show.

How much you throw into that show, especially physically, is up to you.

But it’s important to prepare for what you have in store.

Robbins has a pre-speech ritual that he always follows.

This preparation starts hours before he arrives at the venue. Robbins starts his mornings with a dip into a cold pool. The aim is to wake his body up and get his mind whirring as quickly as possible.

Once he’s at the venue, he has another set of rituals. Robbins performs an array of breathing and voice exercises. He meditates and he even has a trampoline that he bounces on before hitting the stage.

All of this prepares his mind and body for the performance. And it is through the energy that he injects into his performance that he’s able to influence people.


Secret #5 – Showcase Your Passion


Robbins constantly makes the point about adding value to your speaking. You have a unique story to share with people. You want to show them what makes your speaking unique.

But you can’t do that if you have no passion for your subject.

A lack of passion means a lack of authenticity. You just recite a speech instead of making people feel what you have to say.

As Robbins says: “Don't ever speak publicly about anything that you're not passionate about and that you don't actually believe you have something truly unique to deliver.”

You can’t influence people if you don’t understand or care about the subject of your speaking. Even worse, you damage your reputation when you take a half-hearted approach. You can undo all of your hard work when you take on a speaking event that’s outside of your area of expertise. Even one dispassionate speech can cast a shadow on the rest of your work.

Know what you care about and have expertise in. That way, you can influence others because you’re more authentic.




The power of Robbins’ speaking comes from his understanding of the art of influence. He only speaks about subjects that he has knowledge and passion for. He learns about his audience and what they want. Plus, he prepares his body to ensure he delivers maximum energy when he’s on stage. On top of all of that, he constantly networks with other influencers.

But perhaps most importantly, he understands the power of words. He knows which words inspire different emotions and how to use them to influence others.

You can learn all of this and much more with Speakers Institute. We can help you to harness the power of Tony Robbins’ secrets to become a more influential speaker. Do the following to get started.

  • Take me to GREENROOM. The #1OnlineHub connecting you to the world’s leading Influencers, Training and Curriculum. VISIT GREENROOM
  • Join SPEAKERS TRIBE CONFERENCE. The Ultimate Annual event for Influencers globally. APPLY TO SPEAK
  • Attend MASTERING STORYSHOWING FOR INFLUENCE AND AUTHORITY last event. A free event, learning from 7 times International Best Seller and Professional Storyteller, Sam Cawthorn, learning his secrets and techniques. BOOK NOW