Oh The Joys Of Public Speaking

15 minutes before the start and the room is empty. Just me and my associate Barbara in the conference room. Lunch on the table; presentation on the screen; self-doubt creeping in (flooding in?) … Would anyone even show up?

Our first 3 Massive Mistakes That Crush Sales Growth workshop was yesterday. I have spent 30 years preparing for this presentation. Finally able to succinctly synthesize my ideas around client service, marketing and sales process into a fast paced 90-minute workshop. My partners have contributed substantial intellectual capital to make my initial ideas more relevant and powerful. I’m bubbling with excitement and the room is empty!

We use these free workshops as a way to introduce business owners to our ideas and solutions. We strongly believe in educational based marketing as the best way to raise awareness of our capabilities and provide substantial value even before any commercial relationship is started. We invest a great deal of money in planning and promoting the workshops and getting business owners who want to grow their businesses to sign up and attend.

However, since the workshop is free it is both easy to rsvp and easy to not show up. So I sit quietly in the room … now only 10 minutes before we are supposed to start and still no one is there. We have 13 people signed up. Will anyone show up? If not, that would be a first for me. After doing speeches and workshops for 30+ years I’ve never struck out completely. Generally, a 50% show up rate is about what I expect for a free workshop. But we are now 5 minutes to “go time” and still no one is here. Ok, now I’m actually getting nervous.

Then right at 12:00 noon, the door opens and four people walk in. Then two more. Amazing but true there will actually be an audience for this workshop!

And off we go. This is the world premiere of my new presentation and I have high hopes that it will resonate with my audience and become a tool we can scale up significantly. But, until you actually stand in front of an audience it is impossible to say if it will work. Whether you are a stand-up comedian, teacher, actor, or trainer I imagine the process is the same. Plan, practice, self-doubt, extreme nervousness, then the lights go on and it’s “show time” and you give it your best effort.

This isn’t my first rodeo and as usual the workshop went well. We were able to get a few participants to take the next step with us and the feedback from all attendees was excellent. Of course, I made a number of notes of things I want to change to make the next workshop even better but all in all the day was a success.

If you want to see for yourself, please join me next week in Philadelphia or Bala Cynwyd. Learn more at www.akela-partners.com/accelerate.