3 ways to grow confidence and clarity as a speaker

April 29th, 2016

self-doubt demon One of the coolest parts of my job is that I get to hang out with smart people who are deeply passionate about what they do.

But even the smartest and most passionate people (like you) get up close and personal with some mighty demons when they decide to put themselves out as a speaker.

Witnessing them take on these demons, and watch confidence and clarity blossom and shine as an EXTRAORDINARY TALK comes to fruition is an honor and a delight.

I suspect that if you’re reading this, you’re one of them.

I often say to business owners that speaking is the fast-track to cash. (It is)

But perhaps even more important is that speaking is the fast-track to confidence and clarity.

It goes something like this. There are generally two different paths:
You know you’re ready to grow your business / expand your message.
You decide to give a talk
Your mighty demons say “NO WAY YOU CAN’T DO THAT!”
You say OK.
You sit down and go back to being small.


You know you’re ready to grow your business / expand your message.
You decide to give a talk
Your mighty demons say “NO WAY YOU CAN’T DO THAT!”
You say “Wait a minute. Who are you?”
You take them on.
Your confidence and clarity skyrocket.


Those demons ain’t got nuthin’ on you!

Here are 3 things you can try when the demons do take up house in your brain:

1. Start anyway!

For lots of folks, the demons move in way before you’ve even started crafting your talk. These demons sound something like this:

“I’m not ready yet.”

“It’s not the right time.”

“I still have to do a little more therapy to get over my fear.”

“I’ve got to [update my website, design my logo, get clear on my branding, rearrange piles on my desk] before I start writing my talk.”

These are your demons cleverly disguised as “good reasons not to take on this kinda scary project.”

My stealth research has shown that 98% of the time these are your demons cleverly disguised as “good reasons not to take on this slightly terrifying and life-altering project RIGHT NOW.”

Of course. Good for them. They’re doing their best to keep you safe. But you don’t need that kind of safety anymore, so START ANYWAY!!

Whatever your demons are telling you, take the first step. Begin. Here’s a good place to start.

2. Keep going anyway!

Maybe you saw that meme about the creative process that was going around social media a while back. I’m sorry that I don’t know who to credit it to. (Let me know if you do!) But it’s genius.

This is the creative process in a nutshell:

This is awesome
This is tricky
This is shit
I am shit
This might be OK
This is awesome.

When you hit the I am shit part, the demons sound something like, well…

“I am shit.”

“This is a piece of shit.”

“What was I thinking?”

“I’ll never be able to write this talk.”

“I might as well throw in the rag and get a job.”

Sound familiar? This is actually like clockwork with my clients:

They start off inspired and ready to take on anything, then they get half a block down the road and suddenly they can’t see exactly where they’re headed, but they know there’s no way they can turn around and go back because that comfy, cozy house on the corner is no longer there, so they crash into the pit of shit.

You can talk to your demons, argue with your demons, tell them to go sit in the corner, give voice to your demons, listen while they speak, talk to your inner child, tell her she’s awesome, tell her no way are you gonna let these demons have their way with her.

All that is GOOD STUFF. But when the rubber hits the road is when you KEEP GOING ANYWAY. You gotta take the next step, and the next, and the next and keep moving forward.

You can’t correct course standing still. So take imperfect action, throw shit at the wall, get your shoes covered with shit, trudge through the shit, get comfortable in the shit. That’s when it will start to clear out, and you’ll see it as compost as your crystal clear talk starts to unfold and reveal itself.

3. Give that talk anyway!

Finally, you’ve got the talk written. You’ve found that combination of passion and knowledge and technique. You feel pretty good about yourself. In fact you’ve found your way back to THIS IS AWESOME!

“I am awesome! I did it! I am a rock star! I win the prize for taking on my demons and moving forward anyway!! Look what I did, Ma! I did the thing I didn’t think I could do! Now can I come home and watch some TV and have a class of wine?”

That’s awesome!

But, um, you’re not done yet. Now you gotta go give the talk. You gotta find an audience.

This is the place so many people stop in their journey. They do the good work of getting clear about their message. They feel transformed.They celebrate.

Then they stop.

But not you! You don’t stop! (Right?!)

Here are the demons in this phase of the game:

“I’ve worked so hard. Now I can sit back and let my brilliant talk do the work.”

“Well that was a good process but I’m not really good enough to actually give the talk”

“I need to [make a speaker sheet, get a video, come up with a better title, make a few more edits, clean my office] before I can get out there and speak.”

“I suck. Never mind.”

Now. Tell those demons to go sit in the corner and get out there and speak!

Your talk might be imperfect. You might not have it just right quite yet. But that’s why you gotta give the talk. Each time you give it you get to gather information, find out what works & what doesn’t work, stay curious while staying in action.

That’s the work that’s gonna grow your confidence and clarity. You can sign up for another program and pay for more coaching and do more therapy and meditate a few more years, but until you GET BOOKED and GET OUT THERE you’re going to find yourself standing in the same place month after month, year after year.

Don’t get me wrong! I’m all for coaching. (I am one.) I’m all for working hard to hone and fine tune your technique, to make your talk an extraordinary one, to get the help you need to make it great.

But please don’t use more coaching and one more program as a way to keep yourself from moving forward.

OK? Give your talk in spite of the lies your demons might be telling you.

Get support. Get booked. Get out there.

Now, where are you in the process? Are you just getting started? Are you in the middle muck? Are you holding on to a great talk and not putting it out there? Let us know in the comments below. And tell us what your next step is.

Then take it! I can’t wait to hear you speak!


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