Stand Out or Step Out of the Way – Revisited

From the WAYBACK files, this was one of my first presentations to the OC Speakers Bureau in CA. It was the launch of their first e-newsletter, and website too.  I stand by the original message, and I’m surprised how many Emerging Speakers and folks serious maintaining their positions and main income source, haven’t stepped up to take the necessary measures to drive their career and Brand.  (Here’s some supporting information from our latest Webinar:  You3 (U-cubed): Creating Your Powerhouse; Building Your Path to Success, you’ll have to register for the on-demand playback, but you will get immediate access)

The Power of Defining Your Core Message:

We’ve all heard of the ‘IT’ factor.  That je ne sais your personal brand

Both are ways to describe that certain indefinable something: when you are firing on all cylinders, when everything meshes and is cohesive. Nothing is holding you back; you’re comfortable in your own skin.

But what is that?  Why do you need it?  How do you get it? How do your build your personal brand?

The solution is closer than U think.  And it  is staring back at U in the mirror.
As a speaker you’re all about your message – delivered to your audiences through your speech.  But message is much bigger than that; it’s all about U– your U.S.P.….Unique Selling Proposition.  Your theme, your tagline, your message, your USP, or as is all the rage now, your branding. Whatever you want to call it, it all comes down to U.  All those things that make you Unique. But more importantly, it’s you bringing it all to the table, being in the moment, and owning who you are.

As you’ve trained and risen up the ranks in Toastmasters, you’ve learned all the techniques, all the tools to deliver a great speech well.  You’ve mastered the same things that everyone has learned. Form, technique, execution.  You speak by the book, and you’ve been evaluated to death. You’ve done some free speeches, maybe some paid ones.  You’re professional to the core…so what gives? The stories are out there of people being paid $2500, $5000, $10000, but where’s your piece of the pie?

Darren LaCroix touts “Stage time, stage time, stage time.” All for good reason too.  Not just so you can hone that craft, and fine tune that technique.  It’s to make all of what you’ve learned become ingrained, so you can now FOCUS on UYour Uniqueness.  Your Style. Your Voice. Your combination of skills which allow you to connect with the right people. Your voice amplified, and completely in tune with your manner, your body language, your tone, and your gestures. The audience wants more than a good speech – they want U!

There are successful business owners being told that to take their business to the next level, they must write a book and they must speak.  The ‘speaking market’ will become more and more saturated, meaning less fees, and more competition for you to worry about in the future. More competition, and different level competition.  What are U going to do about that.

How do you get started in standing out?

First, take some time to identify ‘it’. If you truly understand your uniqueness, your style, to the point where you can define it in 5 words or less, 140 characters or less, then we can get you on the way to becoming more recognized and creating your Business and Marketing Strategy.

If you can’t yet define your ‘it’, start by finding some of the right words – colorful words, combinations of words, creative applications of words, like: “Wild, Fresh, Funny, Irreverent.  Pour yourself a stiff cocktail and sit yourself down. I’m about to unleash”. That example tells you much more about that person than…”Social media expert, Dad, Coach/Author/Speaker.”  (Side note:  having ‘authoritative’ words like Coach, Speaker, Author, Expert, Guru surprisingly do attract some people to you, but in a saturated market, it doesn’t necessarily help you stand out).  You need to be able to convey a bit of you, or the ‘brand’ you want to define and build.

If you’re not quite sure on what makes you stand out, or on understanding what that differentiator is….take some time to identify what makes you more hire-able than the speaker next to you; what makes you stand out. What makes you appeal to your audiences? Tons of resource sheets, exercises, are out there to help you identify it.  Journaling and introspection also works. I use crayons and candy to start my clients thinking.   To use crayons, go through a box of 128 or 64, and look at all the different names for colors of blue, read, etc.  Don’t go by ‘color’, but look for names of crayons that describe you, or for what they make you think of or feel that you would like to describe you.  Take a walk down the candy aisle, and you can do the same type of experiment.

Not defining your USP causes:

  • you not to be found,
  • different, potential clients getting different messages, diluting your list of followers,
  • someone else getting your speaking opportunity.

Knowing what sets you apart enables you to:

  • create better marketing materials, targeted to the right people,
  • craft particular messages for different venues,
  • allows you to connect better with audiences, and increase engagement and interaction after the event,
  • improves your pipeline of speaking opportunities,
  • improves your ability to be found.

Like the image above, you are a sphere of different colors, influences, challenges, environments, but all contribute to the authentic you at the core. At the center is the you which is the perfect combination of imperfection.  Find what that ‘it’ is and build your own IT factor to step ahead and step apart of your competition. Build your core message, and build your personal brand.

Don’t leave your success up to chance. If you don’t step up and take control of your Speaking Career, step aside.  Run your career (whether for profit or not) like a business and be successful like a business. Leave your competition behind. Think of everything you do as a piece of your business to increase your income stream.

To your Speaking Success,


(know your ‘IT”? let us know below.  have no clue? let me know…)

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