Taking a Risk Paid Off – Playing it safe is the most dangerous place to be!

Sometimes motivational speakers have to take a risk on stage by using all of themselves-by tapping into their own passion, their humor, knowledge, energy, style and making unconventional choices.  All it takes is courage, and a great audience.  Here’s what happened to me.

A few weeks ago I opened the 2013 Connect Marketplace Sports conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with my keynote, Change is Good-YOU Go First. In this keynote I touch on  how conferences are using social media to engage and interact with their attendees. Many of those attending work in sports related industries and because I always try and customize my programs, I wanted to add a sports reference to the keynote…

which was a challenge, because I’m just not that into sports.

Several weeks before the event in Milwaukee, I was home watching The Twitter Revolution on CNBC.  And as luck would have it, the program had on a segment “How Twitter has changed the way NBA fans watch basketball.”  I learned a lot including, two-thirds of the NBA players are on Twitter making the NBA the No. 1 sports league on social media.

Was I lucky or what?

Immediately a light bulb went off… and I remembered a Jimmy Kimmel show about Tweets and the NBA… I Googled it, watched the video, got a little scared, took a risk, and put the piece in my keynote.

I was so nervous that they wouldn’t get it… They got it! They were the best audience! They were in it! They were laughing so hard and I felt the energy  in the room go  higher  and higher. We speakers dream of moments like this one!

Energy is an amazing thing when it spreads and becomes contagious.  We started having fun together. By the time I got to the closing ( Name that Generation game) we were in the zone-together.

It’s amazing how even after 12 years of professional speaking I continue to learn, grow and push myself to try new things and take some risks.  Not everyone is going to like you, but today staying in the middle and playing it safe is the most dangerous place to be.

If you are a speaker or you are giving a presentation, remember tap into your own passion, your strengths, knowledge and content, your style, and even your quirkiness. The more aspects you show of yourself, the easier the audience will connect with you and your message.

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