Lesson from Comedian Louis C.K. – When do you practice?

One of my favorite comics is a guy named Louis CK.  He’s very raw and very funny and I laugh really hard at his humor. I love his bit about technology and  Gen Y- Here’s a taste!

Back to the post…
When he’s not doing huge concerts he hangs out in comedy clubs. That’s where he tries out new material.  The comedy clubs are small and very intimate and he gets a more honest audience response.  He tries out new material and he is sure that being fresh and new is what fills the seats at his concerts.
Stage time is where he practices – in small comedy clubs that do not pay him. He drops in and gives his time away and practices!  He creates fresh and new material and that is what fills the house!

I love this information. I hear so many speakers say that they speak once a month or so…How do they stay sharp? Where are they practicing?  I have a lot of humor in my programs and I know that timing is everything. If I am not on stage I also get shaky and almost neurotic!  I have to create opportunities where I am continually getting in front of audiences some small and some for a small fee to PRACTICE and try out  new material. It’s part of the job.

I believe that no matter what business you are in there is a need to practice and sharpen your skills.
Where do you practice?
I would love to know? Please answer and start the conversation!

Live Your Dreams – Step One

I made the decision to Live My Dream and become a professional speaker in 1999.  I was doing some retail consulting work for an upscale fashion store in the Galleria area of Houston, and the store’s owner and my good friend Beverly asked me to do a few “in-store presentations.”  I did, and they were a big hit; and soon Beverly pushed me out the door encouraging me to start speaking…I went on a part-time contract with her and began a new career ~ as a public speaker.  (I say ‘public’ because  in the beginning I spoke for free.)

After typing that and reading the paragraph,  I realize that I made it sound so simple.
When you do what you love, it is simple.  Well, kind of….

And now here is the truth! I have never focused on the steps, the work or the money that it has required to become a national keynote speaker.  I just started. I started reading, taking seminars, workshops, attending conferences and lectures. I just started writing, developing an expertise, a point of view and a following.  If I sat down and added up all of the hours and money that I spent becoming a speaker and presented it to me back in 1999,  I might have made another career choice!

Living the Dream , for me, took what Malcolm Gladwell calculated as 10,000 hours;  it took sacrifice, and it took focus.  If you are starting a business or a new career, start with step one and keep on taking one step at a time. Every day do something big or small to help you get to your dream.  Every day read one article or blog post and every week read a new book and grow your expertise. Don’t look ahead to the whole picture…It might scare you and it will keep you from starting.

Just START!

The #1 thing to improve your presentations

passion

“The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play.” – Arnold Toynbee

I am been speaking professionally for almost eleven  years and I’ve  been coaching professional speakers and those who just want to be better speakers for the past 3 years.  The #1 question that I am asked over and over again is, “What’s the single most important thing I can do to improve my speaking and be better on the platform?”

My answer  is the same every time and it goes like this…You’ve got to be real and  being “real” in a speaker’s world  means that you have to be genuine, approachable, open, engaging, conversational, honest, humble and passionate!

Yes, I said PASSIONATE

You have to be excited about your topic and share not only your content but your energy and your enthusiasm.  If you aren’t excited about what you have to say how can your audience get excited? Think back to some of the speakers you have listened to in the past.  I bet that the ones that you remember created a lasting impression and may have even been responsible for moving you into action.  What was it that you remember? Was it a particular story that puts a smile on your face just thinking about it?  Was it the feeling that they evoked in you?  Was it an excitement to go out and start doing something? Great speakers spark a curiosity in us that makes us want to learn more, do more or be more!

A really great speaker has the ability to not only share their information and knowledge but they also share their passion.  Sharing your passion takes courage.  It takes getting out of you comfort zone and letting your excitement about a topic out.  Just start practicing letting your passion out when you are in a conversation with your friends or your family.

Oh, and if you are not sure about your passion two great Houston women Ruth McCurdy and Brenda Harris are putting on a workshop where you will take the Passion Test and  The Passion, Possibilities and Purpose Workshop. Check it out!