Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Year, New Speech? 10 Reasons to Do Something New

As we near a new decade, are you planning on adding anything new to your speaking repertoire?

It's easy to get comfortable once you find what works, and some speakers make a good living telling the same stories with the same punchline to make the same point year after year. After all, each audience is different, and for most, it will be the first time they hear the Starfish Story even if its the thousandth time you've told it. (Just an FYI for newbie speakers - don't tell the Starfish Story. Ever. Please.)

But there are also plenty of reasons to switch things up a bit, if not change lanes altogether:

1. You're bored with what you're talking about
2. Your position in life has changed
3. The political climate has changed
4. The economy has shifted
5. Technology has advanced
6. You use examples older than your audience
7. Increased information/education on your topic
8. Staying fresh for repeat clients
9. Your client base is shrinking
10. New product creation

The biggest reason, however,  is one that takes a bit of a gut check to determine: because what we're doing now isn't working. We're lucky if we're scraping by, finding a client here or there, and failing to get a foothold. Even if your marketing is strong, if your topic isn't right for you or your audience, the best marketing in the world is just, dare I say it, putting lipstick on a pig.

I have struggled with topic selection for most of my career. Early on, I talked about living with Passion, Passion, and Perspective. Then I switched to the concept of embracing Your New Foot Smell. I moved on to helping people Leap from Acceptable to Exceptional. Last year, I distilled everything down to Choice, and set myself up as The Champion of Choice, creating the Champion of Choice Challenge last April. This doesn't even include the many talks I give each year on speaking.

In 2010, I'm going to continue focusing on Choice, encouraging people to take back the power in their life, regardless of where in life they are. I'm continuing to add to my story base, and looking for new ways to present my message to audiences of every kind.

As we launch into the new year, listen to your talk. What can you improve? What doesn't work well? What doesn't excite you anymore? And if your topic is oft-used, like choice, change, leadership, etc., how will make it so new to yourself and your clients that you continue to Speak & Deliver with energy and enthusiasm for the decade to come?

Whether you make a renewed vow to update and tweak your material, or decide to start from scratch, make 2010 your favorite year of speaking. The time say what you want to say is NOW.

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