It might not be a good sign when you open a presentation by threatening to puke on the VIPs in the front rows of the audience… those seats they sell as “premium” might be better named “splash zone”…
A few weeks ago I flew to Orlando, Florida to speak at an event called Fight the Forces of Evil.
It was a larger audience than I’d been in front of before, and while I love training, I’m still getting used to sharing personal stories in front of a crowd.
Throughout the weekend, I was reminded of some really important lessons that I wanted to share with you because they really apply to any time in life that you’re stepping up to play a bigger game.
1. Trust that you know your area of expertise.
The first day I arrived, I was on almost no sleep after flying all night (I had been at another event on the West Coast I was traveling from overnight), in a t-shirt and jeans, and the iPas team asked me to go on stage at their breakout with a few hundred people… I wasn’t prepared… I said yes anyway and went on. Was I perfect? No, but I didn’t crash and burn either.
Their audience was excited and I knew my material well enough to get on and share.
I had to trust that if I just shared what I was passionate and excited about, that would work. It did. They were excited, too!
2. Just be honest and allow people support you.
2,000 in the room plus 1,000 on livestream was the largest audience I’d ever been in front of.
I. Was. Terrified.
So I got on stage and told them that.
I said I knew the CEO had different ideas but the audience and I would measure success by whether I managed not to fall off my shoes, fall off the stage, or throw up on the first row of the audience (told them I know they were told VIP seating was the best, but that really it just meant they were in the splash zone).
And yes, this is somewhere immortalized on video, along with me freaking out when I saw myself on the giant screens on either side of me… A “mini me” I’m all for. A “giant me” on the other hand – that’s just not something the world needs!
A coach once told me that I had to remember, any time I speak, the audience WANTS me to succeed!
If you’re speaking, or training, anything that involves others, remember that. They are on your side! They want you to succeed. They want to learn. They do not want to see the people on stage fail. They’re on our side.
I wore my name badge on stage when I spoke the second time – intentionally – even though I’m quite aware it’s not the “professional” thing to do.
I’m just me. I have more in common with the audience than I do the speakers.
I was there to inspire them, to help them realize that if I can do it ANY one of them can.
3. Focus on your why.
I wasn’t on stage sharing my story for me. I’d like to keep it to myself. I’ve done stupid things and made decisions I’m not proud of.
I was sharing because I want people around me to know (a) you can do anything you decide to do, and (b) never ever ever judge someone else’s potential based on what you see right now.
To anyone looking at me 15 or 20 years ago… I had no potential. I had no college education or skills or talents that would allow me to succeed at anything big in life. And I definitely didn’t have the courage.
I allowed people who judged me based on their own view of the world, to put me in a box that crushed my spirit and caused me to be afraid to play any bigger.
All I needed was one person to believe in me.
And at every level of breakthrough I’ve had in life, it’s been because one person (different people at different points but it still only took one at a time) dared to believe in me.
If my getting on stage could lead to even a few people in that audience either making the next decision they needed to make to play bigger and go after things in their own lives knowing they could make it happen, or standing up to be that person who’d believe in someone else, how could I not?
How dare I let fear hold me back?
4. Keep saying YES.
After I came off stage, they asked me to come back for a Q&A panel at the end of the day. I was likely the only person on stage who hadn’t already made close to a million dollars in network marketing.
I said yes anyway and made the decision that I was, at some point, going to speak up and answer a question if it killed me. I might not be a super star network marketer, but I’ve got a lot of experience and knowledge to share around what works in blogging and content marketing online that would add a different perspective to the panel. And different can be valuable.
Did I feel like I belonged on that panel? No. So why go on?
Because I was there to show that audience one thing…