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Say what you will about holidays (Hallmark and otherwise)—they give us an occasion for doing a thing (exchanging gifts, drinking green beer, singing, etc).

If you want something done, you don’t have to wait for a holiday, but you do have to give yourself the occasion for doing it.

Things like: Writing a book. Launching a podcast. Giving a TEDx talk. You can do these things…or not. You can relaunch your website. Or not. Unless you’re under pressure to do a thing, it’s hard to get motivated to do it.

I know of no better way to be accountable to your goals and figure out what exactly you’re trying to do than to speak about it in public.

Promise a group of people you’ll show up in a room and talk to them.

That’ll motivate you. It’s like throwing a party so that you have a reason to clean your house.

When you have a date on the books to show up and speak, you’ll be under considerable pressure to deliver on that promise.

(And if you’re not sure how to get that date on the books, or what talk you’d even give, come to Tapped to Speak LIVE! This two-day live event teaches you how to tap your genius, craft a talk, and get on stage. Join us April 4&5 in Boston! 

And not just that—but knowing you’re going to speak on a thing forces you to get clear on your ideas, and those are the ideas that feed other, bigger projects, like books and courses.

You can use speaking to test out and explore ideas that you may want to pursue in a bigger way.

I do this for other people (as a brand messaging expert this IS what I do for a living). But I also do it for myself! I pitch ideas to speak on topics that I myself want to explore and form an opinion on.

And it works.

It helps me get a clearer sense on what it is I stand for, and what I think is most important to put out into the world.

I’ve done it for the TEDx talks I’ve given (this one and this one), but also for a range of other events and conferences.

Committing to speak on a topic gives you the occasion to form your insights.

This is why, if you’re trying to nail down your “thing,” your mission, your message, the thing you want to be known for, you’ve got to find occasions to speak.

Anywhere—networking groups, workshops, conferences, industry events. For the avid speaker, the crowning achievement is a TEDx talk. And fact is, each speaking effort improves on the last, and helps you get a clearer sense of what you’re trying to do and say.

Don’t wait to “figure out” what you’re trying to say, or assume you’ll do more speaking “later” when you know what you’re doing. No one really ever knows what they’re doing.

Start giving yourself real reasons to stand up and speak and you’ll be forced to get really clear on what’s most important, and get it out into the world in a powerful way.

 

Join me for Tapped to Speak LIVE! It’s going to get you fired up and focused on your stand-out signature talk.  Learn more and reserve your spot at tappedtospeaklive.com.

 

 

Watch the segment on this very topic. Click my face.

I help people become better presenters of their own ideas. It’s what I do. And the brunt of that work has less to do with technique (saying “um” too much for example) than it does psychology. Because once you feel more confident, it’s amazing how all the stuff that falls away.

I know this for sure: What keeps you from owning the crap out of your brand in the media is a twofold fear:

  • You’re afraid you don’t know enough.
  • You’re afraid people won’t agree with you.

You know enough. I promise. In fact, you may know too much (talk to me about coaching doctors who know way, way too much). And you should always be learning more. But this idea that your head is a big bag you haven’t jammed with enough stuff yet? That is not true.

As for whether people will all agree with you? Yeah, that’s not happening. And let me save you some time: If you are seeking to build a media brand for THE sole purpose of getting people to like, approve of, and agree with you, then GET OUT NOW.

Look, I want people to like me, too. I feel all the feelings. But the way to get past the fears (which hinder your message), you have to make some mental and behavioral shifts. Here’s what you’ve got to do to kill it in the media.

Don’t have time to read? Listen instead (and subscribe to my channel on Umano).


1. Tap your inner expert.
Don’t be cowed by the idea of being an expert. Because if you have a demonstrated area of expertise, you are an expert. There will always be others who know more, are more accomplished. But there’s only one you. To be an expert, you need to start acting like one.

You may be a very bright and successful physician, but if you can’t nail the skills it requires to be a media personality, it doesn’t matter what letters you have after your name. That means you need TWO skill sets: Demonstrated expertise, plus the ability to distill and communicate it in a simple, compelling fashion. And by the way—there are more experts than there are folks who can kill it in the media. And producers are always looking for great new talent.

You have no letters after your name? So what! Neither do I, and I’ve been on Dr. Oz more times than I can count. I’m a known entity there and someone they trust to present information well, period. The media is an echo chamber and so that lady talking about how to pair a shirt with dress slacks is an expert because she decided she was. That’s it. The challenge isn’t what you know, but how you communicate it that makes you media material. You want to be an expert? Start acting like one.

2. Care more about changing people’s lives than their opinion of you. When I started doing more media, Gail Blanke, an in-demand author, speaker, and expert I admire said that the key to communicating powerfully was to focus on the message. Many of the schoolteachers I know are shy, and hardly spotlight seekers, but not in front of a classroom. That’s because they’re driven by what they want those children to learn, more than anything else.

I tell my clients: If you’re not out to change my life in some way, you’re wasting your time and mine. Focus on that urgency, on that mission, above all else. And so will they.

3. Don’t just give information; stand for something. My colleague Hank Norman, cofounder of 2 Market Media, is a real hothead about this. If you don’t have an opinion, than nothing you have to say matters. Because information is so accessible, I don’t need just more info—I need to know why I should care. So if you keep striking out with all your statistics, it’s because you’re not giving the media enough to bite into. You’re soft-pedaling, trying to “appeal” to the most people. You want more attention? Alienate a few. Trust me.

So, raise the stakes. Tell me what happens if I don’t do what you think I should. Take a counterintuitive position, and avoid saying what everyone else says. (See how I did this and turned the tables in a recent interview on CBS). Great ideas are worth fighting for. And if you aren’t willing to put skin in the game, then why are you in this to begin with?

(Watch my video on some key pointers for speaking in the media.)

Watch Solopreneur every Tues @ 4p on the Whatever It Takes Network.