It’s been said that a persons greatest fear is public speaking – followed by death by fire! Go figure.
I have been speaking professionally since November 1993 when I gave my first speech for a paltry $850. It was a 4 hour ‘phone sales skills’ workshop for a retail auto parts store – I was 24. It went broke a few years later – no fault of mine I am sure.
Since then I have given over 1,700 paid speeches. They get easier over time but I always remember the following little mantra when I have a new presentation….
- The audience has no idea what you’re going to say – they have not been sent a script
- You have been asked to speak, you have the microphone which means you are in charge
- Whatever you say is going to be right
If that is not enough remember you always give 3 speeches…
- The one you think you’re going to give
- The one you actually give
- The one you give to yourself afterwards!
People often get too worked up about making a speech or a presentation. It’ll never be right. Chill out and remember it could be worse. You’re not going to die by fire or feel embarrassed. You’ve been asked to speak for a reason!
I find Accountants do not offer to add value to their clients because they are afraid that the client may ask them something that they cannot answer. So consequently discussions around the history of financial performance and the future of financial performance are rarely discussed. It’s such a valuable conversation you can have centered around 3 areas:
- Where are you now?
- Where do you want to be?
- How do you think is the best way to get there?
If you did a 3 year historical review using a tool like our PANalytics product and then asked the following question…
“So that is the background that gets you to where you are today, if you could re-design your business where would you like to take it over the next 5 years”?
A very cool conversation will arise that has an enormous amount of value for your client. Once you have the future painted when you segway into an equally powerful question…
“Hypothetically, what do you think needs to change/fix/alter/be different to make that picture real in say 3 years – rather than 5″?
It’s the difference between coaching and consulting. Consulting is giving them the answer (how can you be an expert in so many industries) and coaching is getting the answer out of them. You get the answer by asking the right questions.
When you realise that you do not need to know the answers to add value then your confidence will increase and maybe, just maybe you’ll start to add an enormous amount of value to your clients.
In February I am discussing this topic (and many more) at my 20 year seminar tour in Australasia. It’s called “Remaining Relevant” and it’s all about future proofing your firm. You can get some more details here.
This past 4 days I have been in Istanbul, Turkey at an Entrepreneurs Organisation (EO) conference (also Paris & Singapore on way home). There were 800 of us from 35 countries attending the Istanbul conference.
I attend these events as part of my quest to search the globe for latest/best/greatest ideas on business and personal achievement.
It was my first time in Istanbul and WOW what a place. It was insanely busy – I have never seen traffic so bad as Istanbul – and with so many people (circa 15M in the city) it has a unique energy about it. It is a very ‘full on’ city mixed with bustling shopping precincts, slums, mega mansions and towering sky scrapers.
I find I get more ideas from these trips then almost anything I do. It is the environment of being somewhere different and mixing it with other like-minded people. Even on the flight over I started a new book which I am now 5% complete.
Time to get settled into the hotel, take a trip to the ‘old’ part of the city, visit the Grand Bazaar (dates back to 1461AD with 5,000 covered shops), spot of lunch, get a blade shave and get into the grove of the city.
The conference got started that night with a cocktail reception and then we were transported back to the Grand Bazaar for dinner. This was insane. Every day there are between 250,000 – 400,000 people per day visiting this place and they closed it – just for us. It had never been closed before and it was like the ultimate private dining experience. We heard that 200 people transformed the main street of the Bazaar in 90 minutes. Just amazing.
The conference proper started and it was opened up with Peter Diamandis. Peter is the original creator of the X prize which originally was a competition to get commercial space started. Burt Rutan won the competition, Richard Branson did a deal with Burt and created Virgin Galactic. I am ticket holder no. 293 on Virgin Galactic (my wife bought me my ticket 3 years ago for my 40th birthday) so I was most interested to hear Peter talk about Abundance in Business and life. His next venture is to mine asteroids – yes you read that right. With his partners they want to sending drilling rigs on hurtling asteroids and mine precious metals. It gets you thinking what else is possible if you put your mind to it.
Then we had 3 current EO members tell their stories of trials and tribulations as they built their businesses. I was excited because a friend of mine was speaking. When I heard all 3 stories I realised my life was somewhat easier.
The next speaker was Pamela Meyer (author of liespotting) who spoke on telling lies and how you can pick (with some simple training) who is telling lies in business. Very handy skills to know!
Then we changed gears a bit and had an ex Hindu monk (Dandapani) speak on Spirituality in business. I first met Dandapani in Bahrain in May and have hired him to speak at my conference next March in Queenstown NZ. He was simply outstanding. He spoke a lot about managing energy in your life – not your time, your energy – and he related his 10 years of chosen celibacy and poverty back to the business world. After spending a lot of time with Dandapani on this trip I know he is going to be a hit with all of my Accounting members.
That night we visited the ancient Hagia Sophia and 1001 columns (Binbirdirek). Again the 2 ancient structures where closed to the public for the first time for our group. What an honour to have both facilities to ourselves. As we looked at the 2 structures we marvelled at how such structures could be built with the tools available at the time. That night we were entertained by an ancient ritual of twirling derbish which was just amazing.
Bit of an easy day as far as speakers went however I did learn about cultural diversity in business. I also heard from a young Turkish entrepreneur who has taken her business from start up in 2011, raised $17M in venture capital and now has the fasted growing ‘gaming’ business in the world – Peak Games. Impressive.
That afternoon was ours to enjoy so my friend and I took a private shopping tour of the city. I picked up a few presents for home and some new shoes for me.
The evening was a boat cruise up and down the Bosphorus admiring the palaces and mansions that line the river. Dinner was at Cubuklu 29 – which was of course closed just for us.
The opening speaker made me cry. Doc Hendley was a bartender and one day he decided to start a quest to arrange fresh drinking water to the masses. Doc was saying there are 1 billion people on the planet who do not have fresh drinking water. His Wine to Water foundation has touched the lives of millions of people in the harshest places on the planet. The stories he told made me think that there is a much higher purpose for all of us.
Towards the end of his speech he got us involved by making hundreds of water filter systems (at the conference) which was pretty cool. Many of us also donated some money so many more thousands of water filtration systems could be made.
The last speaker was all about the Psychology of Happiness. Shawn Achor has studied happiness for 10 years at Harvard University and his ground breaking work is now flowing into the corporate world. He says that business happiness can be taught, it is a choice and he gave us tools to be happy every day. The biggest predictor to long term success and happiness is social support. My membership in EO is certainly an important part of my social support.
The last evening event was at an amazing palace – Sait Halim Pasa – where we were dined and entertained in the most amazing way. The palace was simply huge and of course it was ours for exclusive access – no limits.
Then we went to a party. Not just any party – we went to one of the most exclusive and ‘hottest’ night clubs in Europe – Reina. This place was insane. It can hold 2,000 people and it was packed with all the ‘beautiful people’ and apparently many celebrities frequent the club. It was not exclusively closed for us!
Thanks to EO for a most amazing week. Home via Paris and a quick drop in on my friend Paul Dunn in Singapore. Time to consolidate my thoughts, create an action plan and start implementing. Enjoy the photos.
I am a very keen (mad) golfer. I golf in the rain. My clubs are always with me and I have 3 major golfing goals. One is easy the other 2 hard:
Goal 1 – Play every top 100 golf course in Australia
Goal 2 – Play every top 100 golf course in the World
Goal 3 – Play off scratch (zero handicap)
So with goal 3 I have regular coaching. I really love my coaching sessions. James my coach always challenges me and finetunes something. Each session I learn something new as well. And as a good coach he keeps me accountable.
This weeks lesson he invented a new game where I had to chip (46 metres) into a made up hoop. It was quite a challenge. There were points allocated to each good shot and points taken away for each bad shot. A bad shot was when I did not get in the hoop. I was on minus 13 (not good) after 20 balls.
I was getting quite frustrated and said “I am going to play this way I would normally play it”. James snapped back (and he’s the pro remember) – “PLAY IT THE WAY I TEACH YOU”.
Ahhh. He’s the pro and I’m not. So I did play it the way he taught me and it worked. I got to plus 16 for the next 20 balls.
How many times do you listen to experts and not do what they say? You should only listen to people who are much much better than you. When I am playing golf often I have my opponents (who are not pro’s) say “can I give you a tip”. NO is my automatic response.
I am only going to listen to someone who is much much better than me. In life and in business. Who are you listening to?