I heard a speaker this morning. She was a very accomplished person with some stellar achievements. I was almost inspired by her. I wanted to be inspired. I wanted to be in awe but she just did not pull it off.
Maybe this was just one part of her day. Maybe she had a difficult thing to do after she spoke to our group. I’ll never know. What I do know is that she did not make the most of the opportunity that she had to make a lasting impression, and maybe create some legacy moments.
I look at speaking engagements a bit like job interviews. People are setting aside time to listen to me. I owe it to them and to myself to put my best face forward.
This does not just mean remembering to put on lipstick. It means thinking about why they want to talk to me in the first place. What are they expecting to hear or learn about? Why have I been chosen?
Of course bad things happen on the way to interviews and presentations: buttons pop, coffee spills, trains get delayed. Those things do not change what you have to contribute. Not at all.
So before you go in front of the people who invited you, take a breath and remember what got you there in the first place. Put on a smile, make your eyes bright and jump in with both feet!