Why Time

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Inspire with your Words

Just finished giving a key note in Mt. Tremblant - Quebec to an inspired crowd. I was looking forward to this key note as a challenge to inspire a conservative crowd. For the past couple of years I have had the pleasure of reaching over 100,000 people world-wide, typically entrepreneurs to large businesses. This specific key note was delivered to the medical community so you can just imagine the challenge in lifting their spirits? Prior to the key note the sponsor that retained me wanted to exert a bit of control by pre-viewing my presentation slides prior to the key-note. They actually attempted to intervene 45 minutes prior to my key note. When I asked them what their concern was they had difficulty communicating it. They are not used to having a high-energy speaker like me deliver this kind of key note. As one of Canada's top speakers I reassured them that this presentation like all others would go very well and that the crowd would be inspired. I reinforced that my slides would provide little to no context for them since I feed off the energy of the crowd and that my slides and visuals are totally points of reference only. This is a very conservative group and I was confident that I would inspire them to new heights as I have successfully done with all other groups in the past. I further advised my client that they should focus their energy on other areas and not worry about me or my slides. I recommended that they invest their energy by directing and greeting guests to the conference room.

My message here is always believe in yourself and in your abilities. People around you will continually challenge you and test you, but that does not mean that you can't stand up to the challenge with confidence. Many corporate players feel the need to 'control' the situation. They are unaware why they are even doing it so recognize where the concern or act comes from. This client had nothing to worry about, they had seen me perform before and simply needed to be reassured that I was in complete control and that I was there to make them look good.

I delivered a new talk focused on the power to communicate like a champion. One of my creative laws as published in my new book, The Innovation Gap focuses on the power of communication and raising the level of all of your conversations. As I continue helping people develop and communicate their personal brand, I am often asked to help them raise the level of their presentations. So I want to take this time to summarize some of my creative principles pertaining to this topic of communication:

1. What are you putting out there? What kind of message are you continually sending out? Are you inspiring all those around you with your level of conversation or are you bringing the conversation down? The art of conversation stems from the honour of keeping company with the next person. In many cultures, a conversation is a huge sign of respect so make every conversation count.

2. What do you want to be remembered for? When I deliver a key note I always state to the audience at the start that they will forget everything I am telling them over the next 24 hours. That comment always invites a good laugh. I encourage them to write down the important principles that connect with them and to take action on some of these principles over the next few days in order to extend their memory capacity. When I deliver a key note I want to be remembered as one that lifted their spirit and inspired them to action.

3. Be A Catcher. So many of us are always selling, also known as 'pitching'. My recommendation is to become an incredible listener or 'catcher'. This applies to business and personal relationships. Becoming a world-class listener demonstrates interest and a sense of humility. It allows you to make more [meaningful connections]. That is one of my major goals with every key note, to make a connection with the audience. I do this in several ways. I always start off that I need their energy so ?I can give it back. I stress that we are going to have a meaningful conversation as opposed to me speaking to them. This automatically invites them to come closer to me. Next, I immerse myself into the audience, I don't hide behind a podium, I am there with them to give them my energy and engage them. I table questions to the audience at the start and throughout my presentation to get their insights. When someone responds, I congratulate them and shout out their name. I strive to make the audience feel connected and when I ask the audience later on why they prefer this approach they all respond that we love to be heard. With every presentation or conversation, try to rivet your audience, engage your audience, collaborate and connect with your audience. This will allow you to identify with your audience and more importantly will help them identify with you. The end result is an audience that feels connected to something even bigger than them. We are all connected, we are all one and if we let our guards down we can feel one another's energy in the room.

My goal with this recent key note was to demonstrate that this approach works successfully with even the most conservative industries in the world. The reaction from the audience was outstanding and many of the participants thanked me the next day and told me how they used many of my principles in their following talks. Good for you.

I summarized for them what I believe are the new personality types in business today:
1. The INSANE Approach: These are the folks that continue to do the same thing over and over again expecting new results.
2. The CRACK BERRIES: These are the folks that are married to their Blackberries, sleeping with it, having a relationship with it, unable to put it down hoping that the little red light alert will come on providing a sense of hope that someone wants to speak to them.
3. The KNOW-IT-ALLS: These are the folks that want to answer you before you are even finished speaking. They feel compelled to interrupt you and attempt to solve every problem when all you want to do is be heard. These people do not listen with the intent to understand. Rather they are listening to prepare their reply.
4. The PARACHUTES: These are my favorite kinds of people, I love them and can spend all day with them. Their mind is so open like a parachute which is why it works so well. Think of it, a mind like a parachute only works when it is open. These people love to learn and understand how to lower their guards and ego.
5. The INSPIRATORS: I tell my audience at the start of every presentation that I am humbled by the opportunity to inspire them. Why? Well there are over 50,000 speakers world-wide and anytime I am selected I am always very thankful. There are only a few inspirators among these speakers and I like to consider myself as one of them. I live with a purpose to inspire people to action. I want my words and my approach to ignite people to action.

A few weeks ago, a beautiful French women approached me and told me how much she enjoys watching me speak. She noted that she has seen me several times and every time she hears me speak she feels so connected to me. The next few words that came out of her mouth really blew me., she asked me 'Who is inspiring you Gerry? You inspire so many and always put us first". I was honoured to hear these words and it reaffirmed to me what I was put on this earth to do, to creatively inspire people to action. I love it and I love aligning all of my actions towards doing it.

Thank you.